Memoir of The Fallen Palldish (Intercepted and translated by William Matheson)
The Grand Pretecter
In the Northern Palace
Near the city of Charcross
On the Island in the Middle of the World
By what means this narrative may reach my former home, I am not sure, but I know that it must. I write it in a manner where I discuss some events with which you are already familiar, but I do this for the convenience of an accessible and complete interpretation of my actions that will satisfy your curiosity, and also for the benefit of your young palldish, in the hopes that they may read this and understand my warning and thus not follow me into disgrace.
Since I've become a useless hollow shell of a male, as they say in this
language, I have often sat and remembered the beautiful days of my youth
- the times before I let myself slip into this wasted existence, and my
regret for my behaviour cannot be expressed in words.
I remember the bright mornings where we the palleate would awaken gently in our rooms to see the sun's rays dancing on our walls and hear the lowing of the - cattle, they are called here - and think only of our friends and the morningfast that awaited us, and worry only about impressing our tutors in our lessons later on in the day. I would begin my daily machinations and rituals of nature while enjoying my dreams of the night passed, but at the same time becoming increasingly forgetful of the increasingly forgotten details. I would always remember, though, that the dreams took place in or on the way to nevaeh, and all my friends were there, and we basked in the light of the supreme nevolence - who we knew loved us dearly and would never do anything to hurt us. All of us palleate would have the same sorts of dreams, all of us becoming more anxious as time passed to achieve our final destiny so that we could go back to nevaeh but never wake up.
Our chores were rather light, as each individual palldish would be responsible only for its own quarters. As the palleate, we would congregate once per week to clean up our common area, but that was the extent of our labour, for we were of the Royal Palleate. Now that I'm a stuuable in this new land, I do more work, but no matter how many constructions of cleaning, body, or mind I accomplish, I am no closer to reaching nevaeh. I feel cold and empty and I am alone here and I have no more of the simple company of the palleate and I can never join them in nevaeh - O! I repent! I repent! But I fear that it is too late for me.
My fall from nevaeh began when a traveller who was a palldish
but somehow not arrived at the North Palace in Charcross where we the Royal
palleate lived out our happy lives. He came through a wormhole from
a country called either "America" or "The Great Satan" by the people here
- the opinion seems to be divided by hemisphere. He was a respectable fellow,
and I have since found that he is representative of the "Americans" or
By any estimation, he was a learned man - he had command of many more ideas than any palldish in recent memory had ever the time to obtain. But he was a little strange, and what set him apart from the palleate most was that he had become a stuuable - he had lived through over twenty-six cycles of his sun (I have found that our worlds are comparable in this regard)! He told me that he had obtained, through many cycles of work and diligence, and many more "dollars," several fancy coloured pieces of paper called "degrees."
That he was a stuuable among royals meant that he was no longer able to go to nevaeh, and our pretecters would not facilitate him. Strangely, he seemed relieved by this, for when he was so informed he relaxed and joyously roamed the Northern Palace, engaging in conversation with palldish and pretecter alike, and becoming quite proficient in our language.
After a few days of this, the pretecters instructed us not to listen to him anymore. They said he was possessed with dangerous ideas, and that they would desire us not to take after his fashion of wearing clothing and acting as if he were not a palldish. However, they permitted him to remain in the palace as he was delighting the Grand pretecter with his tales of "Planet Earth."
Against the advice of our pretecters, I continued to talk with the traveller, and he taught me his language of "English." He would share his customs with me, and I would share ours with him, even though I didn't really understand our world outside of the Northern Palace, having never left. He could have learned more from talking to the Grand Pretecter, I suppose, but I think he liked my company more because I was not trying to ridicule him and his customs like the Grand Pretecter often delighted in doing.
One afternoon I met him in a corridor and we began to discuss astronomy. In the midst of our discourse, a particularly lovely female palldish walked by, and the traveller was momentarily distracted.
"Tell me, why do you start so when the females walk by?" I asked him. "It makes you look very much out of place."
"In that case I do apologize, but please understand that in northern New Hampshire it is not very common to see unadorned females live, or at least not in three dimensions."
"But if all your palleate-"
"But if all your people are covered, as you say, then how do you conduct the choice of mates without the visual confirmation of interest?"
"That, my friend, is a very good question. Having left Nature to our bedrooms and cars, we have developed two new systems for getting people together. The first system involves alcohol and lively nightclubs."
"Why is the alcohol necessary?"
"It makes the men feel that they deserve a girlfriend, and the women feel that they need a man. But we also have a second system where no alcohol is necessary. In this, someone goes into the business of having lonely and unattractive people with ridiculously high expectations pay to be set up with attractive and dynamic people who do not return to the service to read their messages."
He told many other tales of technology and splendour, and before long I became captivated by the thought of seeing the outside world for myself, and I dreamt less and less of going to nevaeh, though I still intended to go there.
Oh, if only I were as dull and ignorant as my peers! At least I can be glad that I was never chosen to mate - I would be crushed to learn of offspring likewise cursed with an intelligence that somehow disrupted their individual journeys to nevaeh.
One winter holiday when the sun was glistening on the hardened snow crust
outside the palace windows, the thought got into me that I should see the
outside world right away. I thought it the best time to make my journey,
as the Palace Guard was considerably lessened in the winter months, as
most commerce of the royal pretecters was moved to the Southern
Palace in Dolling.
I opened up a window in a seldom-travelled corridor and leaped outside. Immediately I felt colder than I had ever felt before, but the adrenaline rush accompanying my egress enabled me to cross the field of snow without much pain. I ran up to the top of a low hill to better see what lay on the horizon.
Below me, I saw a vast plain before the ocean. I could see a river, many buildings, and several dual carriageways. It was the first time I ever beheld the great city of Charcross in person. I enthusiastically ran down the slope towards the city, forgetting my chill. I felt as if I could run for hours.
Eventually I reached some buildings which appeared to be the homes of the commoners. They had little variety, from their similar layouts to their similar pretecters on similar couches watching similar glowing black boxes. I started towards the downtown on the black smooth surface, but when I came to an intersection of the surfaces, I was nearly hit by a fast-moving travel pod with a driver its lone occupant. I then understood that I was meant to walk on the grey smooth surface cut into squares.
On my journey, I saw many pretecters that I had never met before, being grown only among the Royal pretecters and their servants. I was happy or at least curious to see them, but I do not perceive that they felt the same way. Once I heard, "Nory, someone's animal is loose. Call HELP." No pretecters on the street detained me, though.
Soon I came to an intersection of the black surface I travelled and a wider black surface with lines painted on it surrounded by many bigger buildings. The one that caught most of my attention was green and wide and fronted by an enormous empty expanse of black demarcated into open yellow-bordered rectangles. Huge letters on the building announced that it was a Syebos, and smaller that it was a growsury. I ran across the road and the yellow squares right up to the front doors. The cold air around my warm body exhilarated me.
When I pushed the doors, I discovered that they would not open, so I kicked them in. I heard some beeping and wailing, but the noise faded as I went further into the growsury, where I appreciated the relative warmth.
Inside, I saw such wonders of fruit and vegetable as I had before seen only on feast days. There were mounds and mounds of juicy, watery, and fresh ... here I will use this world's words: oranges, pears, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, clementines, bananas, plums, celery, cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, watermelons, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, pineapples, apples, grapefruit... My mouth watered so that I nearly dehydrated before grabbing a bright fuzzy peach and taking a juicy bite.
After exploring and sampling the delights of that sector, I walked up a long aisle filled with coloured cards. Reading a few, I could only guess that their purpose was to express sentiments on behalf of people too lazy to compose their own words. I reached the back of the store.
I could not believe what lay before my eyes. Deep, open freezers - all fully stocked with uniformly packed animal parts. I was slightly put off, because it seemed a bit of an indignity to the cattle, swine, and fowl to have their parts separated and frozen in such a fashion. However, I cannot say that it offended me especially deeply, as they were animals, after all.
To sate my curiosity I read a few of the package labels. I looked at the mass and price of many packages of chicken breasts. Then I turned about and looked at a stock of meat in a chest freezer in the middle of the aisle. The cuts were bigger, and the meat looked lean compared to the poultry. I picked up a package of a smooth, succulent-looking cut of meat.
The label read: "F PALLDISH BREASTS -- PKG. OF 4, %9.87"
I jumped in shock before my cold hands delivered the frozen breasts back into the chest. I wiped my hands on my thighs to try and warm them up, and then I looked down at my thighs and saw it and the other parts of my body in a different way.
I looked at the breasts again. Truthfully, they looked better on a living female palldish. And what was this about a package of four breasts? What were their names? Why were they suffered to have their parts displayed for all to see instead of being privately consumed in a proper ceremony?
I did not have the time to consider all these things because in the next moment I was surrounded by over a dozen pretecters, many of them carrying guns. One prepared to shoot me in the head, but another stopped him.
"Wait, don't shoot it!"
"Why not? It's just a feral palldish."
"No, it isn't; look how clean it is! Where are you from, appetizing palldish?"
"Th-The Northern P-Palace."
She looked at me thoughtfully. "Let's just take it back. Maybe we'll get a reward."
I spent the travel pod journey back to the palace in tears. Upon my delivery, I was told that I would be confined to my quarters for six weeks and permanently removed from the siring list so that my troublesome genetics would not be kept in the palleate. Choking with grief, I asked for a hearing with the Grand Pretecter before serving my sentence, as I had many questions.
The throne room itself was luxuriously appointed, and at the time of my audience there were a few female palldish lying about on cushions for the amusement of the Grand Pretecter, who was eating some shin strips off a tray held by a pretecter servant. I made the Ceremony of Offering by opening my arms and bending my knees and hips a little to indicate that I was his to consume, though I probably did it with less grace than usual as my mind was occupied.
"My Pretecter, why are palldish being subjected to such indignity? They are being held from their destiny in nevaeh! Is that not a crime?"
"My dear succulent palldish, you must understand that there is more to your species than the Royal palleate that occupy the palaces at Charcross, Dolling, and gought. You are one of a very special and select kind of palldish, for you are clean, literate, and subject to the highest standards of breeding. These growsury palldish you speak of are kept on overcrowded farms. They know no words, sleep in hay, and wallow in their own filth. Why do you think that their consumption would be worthy of any ceremony to ensure their place in nevaeh?"
"But my Grand Pretecter, they are of the very same flesh as me and borne of the same process of Nature, even if they are less of breeding. Perhaps if they could simply live as we live-"
"They could, palldish, but that would be impossible for our country to bear. The demand for your flesh is high, and the uncouth cannot distinguish the tastes of educated and uneducated palldish enough to justify the enormous expense of keeping palldish like you have been kept. I hope that you now realize how fortunate you are to be under our pretectcen and on your way to nevaeh."
With a cloud over my head, I took my leave of the Grand Pretecter and walked slowly to my room and began my confinement.
For day upon day I simply lay on my bed sleeping and doodling and occasionally reading, getting up only for the output of digestion and practice of hygiene. As glad as I was that the absence of my contribution would make the palleate stronger, I felt that I was existing without purpose, this realization sinking my spirits.
When the pretecters would come by to feed me twice a day, I would sometimes see female palldish walking to and fro while my door was open, which filled me with want beyond food. When the noon chime went off, I did what we were all instructed and encouraged to do, but I found less joy in it than before, for all the while I caressed my own skin I longed for the warm touch of a female, and now that I would be consumed without siring offspring, fantasizing about any female would bring both bliss and pain. After some time my contribution would join my skin, and the knowledge that it would never find its way into a female saddened me.
Through my days in confinement, I would often wish the Ceremony for me
to leave for nevaeh to quicken by. Many a time I would imagine the
experience as we were taught it would be while trying to sleep away the
It was the day marking my twenty-first cycle about the sun. I awoke with a smile on my face and enjoyed the dawn light upon my body that was about to meet its use.
Four pretecters came into my room, wearing their blue Ceremony dress. Each pretecter gently took up one of my limbs and I was gently carried down the corridor towards the Preparation Room. My friends stood in their doorframes and I exchanged smiles with them, for they would be joining me in nevaeh when their times came.
In the Preparation Room I was first tied face down on the table. A bucket was placed below my mouth, and I was induced to expel the contents of my stomach. At my rear, I was given an enema, and a jug was employed to empty my bladder. Then I was untied, washed, and then seated upon the table again, when the most meticulous and time consuming process took place: every hair on my body was shaved or plucked. Even my eyelashes and nose hairs were removed. I looked at my newly shorn organ of delivery and my hand involuntary inched towards it. Sensing my desire, my pretecters stepped back and allowed me to complete the most fantastic Ritual of Self of my life, fuelled by my exciting anticipation of being consumed, reaching my destiny, and going to nevaeh.
Fully expunged and cleansed, I was ready for the Final Ceremony. Again I was carried by my limbs through the corridors. My friends looked upon me with awe and envy. I could not keep the smile from my face - I was finally going to nevaeh!
Finally, we reached the Sacred Kitchen, where I was placed on the countertop and attended upon by the Grand Pretecter himself, who fed me a pill meant to dull all sensation. Within seconds, I could not feel or move. My eyes, though, stayed open, blinking involuntarily, and I could still breathe and speak. The chefs approached my sides, and as per my duty, I told them, "For the glory of nevaeh, I grant you my body. May you prepare me well and find me delicious." Having heard this, they sawed off and capped my limbs at the torso, the idea being that I should enjoy the Ritual as much as my pretecters.
While waiting for my limbs to be prepared, I was given some more pills and water to sustain me and ensure that I was comfortable. I told them that I was happy to be consumed by such kind and generous pretecters. They all smiled gratefully at me, and a few even shed tears.
Soon enough, some of my shoulder meat was ready, and the highest royals stood in front of me to partake so that I could gauge their enjoyment of my body. To my relief, they seemed pleased. The wife of the Grand pretecter approached my face with her bowl and fed me a small sample. I chewed it slowly, my first taste of palldish meat filling me with wonder. (Because of the dangers presented by the deepest, most intrinsic of diseases, palldish do not consume palldish except at the Final Ceremony. It is also the reason why pretecters eat palldish for their intelligent meat, and never other pretecters.) Tears streamed from my eyes and theirs. I could never have imagined how well my body would be received, that I would be send to nevaeh with a most honourable good taste.
The Grand Pretecter, after finishing his dish of my shoulder, stepped up beside my torso and said, "Delectable palldish, we thank thee for being most excellent of taste and texture. We will now enjoy the remainder of you and grant you leave to go to nevaeh." My heart must have been pounding.
My organ of delivery was removed and I was placed in a large, deep, rectangular black pan and slid into a large electric oven. The chef smiled at me and closed the door. After a few seconds, the temperature noticeably rose.
As my skin turned deep red and began to boil, my heart filled with joy that I would be so well given over to Nature. I had with me the contentment that comes along with fulfilling one's ultimate destiny. Finally, my eyes boiled away and soon I could breathe no more and soon I could think no more.
At that point I would start from my lucid slumber and often vomit, a sure sign of my unworthiness.
After a few more excruciating weeks, I was finally released and free to
roam the palace. By then I had become a... they would say here, a "caged
animal" - like a palldish grown for the growsury. I wanted
to be out, away.
My angst was noted by the Grand Pretecter. He asked me if, since I seemed to like journeying so much, I would like to be permanently transported to the Eastern Palace in gought. I asked him if I could be a sire there, and he said that while he could not wholly account for his cousin's tastes in some regards, he doubted it very much. I thus declined to be moved.
Although a change of scenery may have distracted me from my foul outlook, I thought it in my best interest to stay, because as far as I knew, the traveller was still in the palace. I asked a former acquaintance of mine where I could find him, as I found he was no longer staying in his old room in the pretecter wing.
I walked into his new quarters to find him without his clothes and having his organ of delivery orally administered to by a female palldish. I apologized and waited outside his door. I felt sick to my stomach again. A few moments later, the palldish departed, and I came in to find the traveller looking very relaxed, lying on his bed. "Well, hello there, my auld acquaintance!" he said, but in our language, not "English." I noticed that he had changed somehow in a manner that I cannot describe in words, but to say that he seemed to be fitting in with the palleate in a new and different way.
"I am much happier now than the last time we talked," he told me.
"A few weeks ago, my Grand Pretecter decided that, since I am a palldish of such high learning, yet still friendly and congenial and not troublesome, no matter that I am over twenty-one cycles, I will yet be stuued with all Ceremony and mated in the meantime!"
"Congratulations." My heart was not with the verbal exclamation.
He detected the drop in my tone. "Are you well?"
"Of a sort, yes. But I have lost my will to continue here."
"To... continue? But what other choice of life is there?"
"You lived in America and earned 'degrees.'"
"Yes, but that was not the happy life I live now as a sire on my way to consumption and nevaeh!"
"I, though, do not live the happy life, as I am not fit to sire like you, and I feel myself not suited to be a palldish. I desire this abstract concept you once described to me, this 'American' 'freedom,' where there is no fear of living under pretectcen."
"I have heard rumours of palldish in this world who live free, on the Outer Continents. You could find them."
"I fear I could not. How might I secure passage off this island? And once away, how might I satisfy my taste for a civilized life? I would rather visit your homeland."
The traveller thought for a moment, then soberly said, "I came to this land through a wormhole which is within walking distance of the palace. The wormhole has only one trip to my former world left in it, but once there I could reset it. Then I will lead the entire human race to this world, so that we may all be consumed by our blessed pretecters and be of use to Nature again! I will ask my Grand pretecter what he thinks of this-"
"No, I will go," I said quickly.
"You will go?"
"You seem so happy here, who am I to take you away from your bliss? I will go, and I will stay there, but I will send the entire population of your 'Planet Earth' back here. And before you undergo the Final Ceremony, they will all thank you profusely for bringing them to their true destinies."
The traveller seemed satisfied with this, and he directed me to come back to see him the next morning by when he promised to have prepared directions for finding, travelling through, and resetting the wormhole.
On my way back to my quarters, I passed by the entrance to the dining hall and kitchen. Through the closed and bolted door, I heard the many loud and enthusiastic screams of a female palldish undergoing her Final Ceremony. Instead of encouraging me to stay as one might imagine, it instead strengthened my resolve to leave my gracious pretecters.
I slept, woke early, rose, and walked back to the traveller's quarters.
He was asleep in his bed with a female, but on his desk I found some papers
with all the necessary information. I took hold of them and quietly left
the room. I spent another twenty minutes in my quarters reading the instructions,
and then I departed.
Leaving the palace was no more difficult than for my last excursion, as the hour was very early and everyone was still asleep. Again, I opened up a window and scrambled across a field. This time, the air was not cold, nor was there snow, so I did not find myself wanting for the coverings of a pretecter. Following the traveller's directions, I reached a small forest. Within it, I stopped my travel and stared up at the sky and the treetops, and it was some minutes before I could continue. Resuming, I soon found the circle of boulders that the traveller had indicated in his directions.
"That errant male has escaped again!" I heard from a distance. I started with fright, then stepped into the circle and made the proper motions. I materialized in a room with smooth grey walls and tiny rectangular windows placed very near the ceiling of exposed wooden beams that admitted a bleak late-evening light. In front of me, I saw a black box labelled "SONY" in small silver letters, sitting atop a wooden crate. It had a cylinder in its front, and inside the cylinder was a glass lens in front of a bulb that was dimming. Around me, a field of blue light faded away.
"Travel complete, projector off," said the box. "Elapsed time, four hundred sixteen days."
In the pages the traveller had given me were many chapters of detailed instruction, explaining how to disconnect and transport and reprogram and reactivate the projector, listing the various authors, leaders, and "right-wing special interest groups" I would need to contact, and, finally, it mentioned some details of 'American' 'culture' that he thought important to share with me.
Unfortunately, though, I did not have the time to read these directions very thoroughly in the twenty minutes I spent in my quarters with the papers, so I simply picked up the box, pulled its trailing appendage out of the wall, and threw it down onto the smooth, hard grey floor.
Many people here have told me a story about how a group of people who have
different beliefs than the 'Americans' destroyed four airplanes, two towers,
a section of their military headquarters, and several smaller buildings
in a single morning. The people who did these things believed that they
could go to an eternal paradise for their actions. Of course, I immediately
knew that they were wrong. Being consumed with proper ceremony is the only
way to go to nevaeh.
Being under no sort of pretectcen, the people here have no way to go to nevaeh, but they are not worried about this, and they continue with their lives as if the Final Ceremony never existed. Truthfully, I am not inclined to propel them to the true path, as I cannot go to nevaeh either, and I would rather that all of us "Earthlings" bear this great shame.
I have learned a great deal - I have been exposed to more new ideas than I can count; I have achieved a gainful employment and wage and home simply by claiming that I am the person who was the traveller (though I did have to find a new "girlfriend" and "family"). Despite all of this, I despair and weep over the hardships of my new life. Every day, I must suffer the indignity of wearing beautiful clothes to keep me warm and comfortable and have it so that 'women' will not be able to judge my worth by my organ of delivery. Every day, my opinion is sought of various things, and I am forced the labour of speaking. Every day, I have to endure the companionship of intelligent friends. Every day, I am forced to make choices instead of having the blissful convenience of pretecters determining my life. Life here is a horrible lleh.
To close this, then, I reassert that I am a humble, truthful, faithful stuuable, and when this explanation of my actions reaches my former home again, I implore that the traveller should not try to recreate the wormhole for you - I can tell you in advance that we are not worthy of your pretectcen. Coming here would be a great deal of needless trouble for you. You have done well to keep my contribution out of the palleate, and here there are too many like me to ensure the stability of your pretectcen. I wish you many more cycles of pretecteng palldish within your kingdom.
- The Fallen Palldish
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