Peaches are a part of the state of Georgia; the firm fruit of its bloody soil, succulent and juicy. The people of Georgia feed on their peaches from the youngest age, and grow new crops of them in turn. It is a cycle as natural as it is somewhat maddening, the crunch and slurp of teeth biting through the thin, fuzzy skin to bite off raw, dripping chunks of the sweet flesh within; the pulped remnants sliding down the gullet to land in the stomach, where it dissolves, the bits of peach breaking down, being carried throughout the body, building blocks of cells, becoming human at some indeterminate point along the way, no longer peach at all.
Many Georgians are peach souls in embodied in blood and bone. You can sense their innate, sickening sweetness seeping through their soft pink flesh. Yet it takes a long time to recognize them as such - the Peachkin. Like farmers and their pigs who have fed off one another so long that they begin to grow alike, and have finally switched roles, so that the men wallow and the oinking master draws the knife across a rough throat. So it is with the Peachkin, who are invariably closely tied to the production of peaches themselves, to their native soil as it were - walking amid the orchards, eyeing the unripe fruit with some instinct that goes beyond mere familiarity and experience, to something closer to communion.
Perhaps it is just nearness that does it. A child is born without a soul, near an orchard, and the wafting spirit of a peach fills the spiritual vacuum. Or perhaps it is the cumulative effect of all those peach lives, consumed generation upon generation, permeating the flesh of mothers and fathers, building blocks of sperm and egg... or maybe there is just a vast spiritual pressure that comes from the calm heart of the peach orchard, that forces out whatever squawking, red-mouthed thing that passes for the human life force, replacing it with something more vegetable. Not quite dryads but something just as elemental, spirits of the peach trees oddly bodied.
Some of them fall. It's not the human nature that fails them, I think, but something innate in the peach nature that finds ready access through human flesh. Perhaps the souls of those come from the old peaches that fall on the ground, the ones in which that terrible natural alchemy takes place. The fallen Peachkin are much like that. The flesh is bruised and soft, the terrible sweetness transmutes to a sickly odour, like a bad wine. They fall into corrupt practices - for while the peach may wish you to eat the flesh of their flesh, the fallen peach wants you to drink of their blood. A heady, straw-colored wine that brings madness and joy.
Then there are the few - the perfect. Those who have fallen and passed through, they purify body and spirit. Distilled down to their essence, the overpowering aura of the peach seems to shrine through their frail flesh. To even stand in their presence is enough to be drunk, for the full majesty and power of the peach is upon them, the spirit and weight of the orchard, the red clay of Georgia pulled up through their roots and combined with the summer rays to make a golden ambrosia of distilled sunshine. They bleed amber and golden, and offer themselves to supplicants, who take the peach into themselves more and more, unheeding of the spirits they permit into their vessels, into their very flesh...