Title: The Hungry Temple-visitor
Source: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – Week of January 24, 2017
Word count: 175 words
This was actually based on a true story my friend’s mother told me one dinner. My friend, of course, claims not to remember, but apparently the ancestors were merciful and they had a relatively good year despite this incident!
“Mama,” she whined, tugging at her mother’s skirt. “I’m hungry.”
“Patience, Yan. We’ll eat soon.”
Pouting, Yan sat down on a stool, watching the scene. Papa had a blow torch out, lighting an oversized incense stick; Auntie was setting out the offerings. She wanted to help carry the bags, but Uncle had told her it was too heavy for her five-year-old self.
It wasn’t fair. She only had a sandwich for breakfast, and she was starving while all this food was on the table.
Mama nudged her forward to take her place before the altar. The suckling pig’s aroma made her mouth water. The buns were closest to her, glistening on the table. She took one bow. Two bows. Three bows –
When she straightened, her mouth could barely hold the steamed bun she’d stolen. Mama’s mouth was slack in horror, while Uncle and Papa tried to hide their grins. Moments later, the assembled congregation – family, relatives – burst out in laughter. Contentedly, she wrestled with chewing her snack. That would teach them not to feed her.