I carried the bag to our small stone shrine. Young and headstrong, I resented my family for expecting me to follow this absurd tradition.
It was the responsibility of the women in my family to feed the Rocklings, which were contentious, antagonistic creatures, according to my grandmother. They used to bang on their drums and march down from the mountain to plunder our village. Then our ancestors—the best cooks—offered to serve them meals in exchange for peace. We still did this, although Grandma said no one had seen the Rocklings in a long, long time.
Today I was old enough to carry the offering to the shrine. I said I didn’t want to. The Rocklings didn’t eat our food; it was left to rot, wasted. The women slapped a meat pie in my arms, still fire-hot.
“You understand nothing,” said Grandma.
“Please just do it for Grandma,” said Mother.
Having arrived at the shrine, I opened my bag. I removed a small tin of the oil we use to start the cooking flame, some dry twigs, and a match. I set the old food offerings ablaze.
Impossibly faintly, I heard the sound of drums over the mountain.
This is a submission to Sunday Photo Fiction, a weekly challenge where writers post a story in 200 words or fewer in response to a photo prompt (shown above).