Did you know there are some animals in the world that cannot die from biological causes? They just... don’t.

Some trees live up to thousands of years. Starfish regenerate new limbs if not entire bodies. There’s even a type of jellyfish that can just start its life over from the infancy period if some conditions are met. Alas, the fantastical 'immortal' designation for these creatures are often justified by simplified descriptions of evolutionary processes. It's almost deceptive isn't it?

And then there’s the Worm. Yes, capitalized. No, not an earthworm, although perhaps it looks like one. I don’t think there's any other animal like it in the world, and do you know why? It is truly and utterly immortal.

I don’t mean it just lives naturally unless run over by a car. It can’t divide into more of itself. It simply never begins to die, right from the very start.

You’ve seen it before. On the sidewalk after a hard rain, or underneath the soil of your mother’s garden where she told you not to play in. The Worm is there wriggling and squirming, looking up with a blind eye to an indifferent sun. Its skin isn’t the usual healthy brownish color. It's a sickly pale green. You probably don’t notice it because you just like to watch the bugger crawl around unaware, and perhaps give it an untimely demise with the tip of the shoe, black innards squirting out with a stomp or slice.

You leave it there and go home. The rain washes its carcass away, but you didn’t actually see that. Oh no. It was fine the whole time. You just assumed the elements spirited away the remains. The Worm saw what you did, and it was indifferent. Comfortable even. Do you know why?

Because it comes from a place where this is normal. Death is a myth it does not believe in. How it ended up here with us, I do not know. But I do know that if you go looking for the Worm, you will find it. It might be in the soil of your Grandma’s pot, the crack of a concrete slab, or buried deep in the mud of a shore. Or even on the dank ground of the basement you refuse to stay in for long. If you look for it, it’ll be there.

The Worm holds a secret many are willing to ask of, but are afraid to receive. Although, you’ll never be able to know for certain whether the insight it shares is a preview of things to come. Go to the dankest spot of the loneliest place you can find. The Worm will be there, rearing its head and willing to be held within your dirty palms.

Touch it, place it in your hand, and ask: “From what soil do you hail?”

You will be shown a vision of the Worm’s home. A place where there is no ground. There is no rock nor branch to hold steady within the ever-blowing ill tempest. There is an endless pit rending upward into an obsidian ceiling, eons from the warm embrace of a Father. There is a cacophony of the miserable and wicked who were far too late to detach from evil and were met with gnashing jaws and derisive howls. And contrary to belief it is not sweltering and filled with rotten-smelling brimstone, but rancorous and freezing, and purulent as the sin which would grant you access here in the first place.

This is the home of the Bitter Worms, where human folly is punished tenfold for eternity. This one is your Worm, and it dieth not. But it does feed.

Written by William See
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