Undisputedly the most repulsive denizen of the hellish rents in the Skull Island interior is the Carnictis. Writhing, serpentine, vermicular carnivores of the tepid sludge that suffocate the depths of the chasms, they are feeders on the dead and wounded. Carnictis are slow-moving but relentless. Lacking eyes or a face of any sort (unless a sphincter maw of teeth can be considered a face), Carnictis are little more than an animated stomach that folds in and out of itself with obscene undulation.Flatworms similar to the related parasitic tapeworms that can infest other species of animal such as humans, the ancestors of the Carnictis lived in the guts of large predatory dinosaurs, where they devoured the half-digested flesh swallowed by their hosts. At some point in their history, these gut parasites must have evolved so they could survive outside the confines of their hosts’ intestinal tracts. They made their new homes in the geothermal spring-fed sludge that clots the bowls of the island. It is theorized that long ago, a V. rex or a similar predator fell into one of the chasms and died, its parasite cargo disgorging slowly from the carcass to find themselves in the rich organic river in the pit’s base. Instead of drying up and dying, they thrived. Warmed by the hot, geothermal water bubbling into the syrup of the pits, the worms were sustained on the flesh of other animals falling into the chasm from the jungle above. Parasites no longer, they have swelled to disturbing new proportions and have become carrion-eating scavengers/predators of the “abyss.” With their new size and strength they can overwhelm and consume live prey like Venatosaurus impavidus, dragging the slow or wounded to their deaths below the surface.
Requiring very specific environmental conditions, Carnictis are restricted to a few cavernous rents and sinkholes that suit their particular needs. Squirming downstream through the muck to where the chasms open into rivers is death. The cooling water sucks their life away, while any pit that sees a drought of carrion or fresh meat will similarly devastate the great worm.
However, the Carnictis has developed a survival strategy. While the adults are susceptible to change, eggs can survive for decades in a dormant state, waiting for a return of favorable conditions to hatch and spread.
Relationship with Arachno-Claws
Most arachno-claw eggs never survive to hatching, destroyed by other carrion-feeders or drowned in the thick muck. However, a lucky few survive long enough to be ingested by the great Carnictis, later hatching in the worm’s gut, where they spend their larval stage living as intestinal parasites. Years later, fattened on the meat they steal from their worm host, they undergo a metamorphosis and emerge from the flatworm’s rectum as miniature versions of the adults, crawling out to join their parents as free-roving scavengers and predators of the “abyss.”