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Welcome to SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY

Vol.3. No. 3. April - June 2010

 


CONTRIBUTORS

FICTION

SECTIONS

Barrie Darke
Bruce J. Berger
Chad Norman
Christian Ward
Chuma Nwokolo Jr
Claire Askew
Colin Gallant
Davide Trame
Gary Beck
Ivor W. Hartmann
Katie Metcalfe
M C Hardwick
Michael Conley
Minna Salami
Pete Court
Roger Elkin
Warren Paul Glover
George Freek
 

Champion Poems #1

Selected Poems from the

Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition July 2009, featuring poems by twenty fine minds of our time, including

Miles Cain, Mandy Pannett, Charles Evans, L.S Mensah, Thomas Gayton, June Drake,

Noel Williams and Ellaraine Lockie.

45 Pages.

£3.95 (UK), £4.95 (Overseas)

Price includes P&P

 

M C HARDWICK "Sandalwood"

 

That night they dined outside in the hotel courtyard, surrounded by flamboyant flaming beauty and the intoxicating fragrance of crape jasmine; the arched quadrangle shimmered in the golden glow of burning lanterns while the undulating vibrato of violin strings softened the senses with sweet melodies. Anthony was glad to have dispensed with his shorts proudly wearing the white jeans he had hidden from his mother anxious she would have regarded them as unsuitable for the English weather. Earlier Lily had lightly drummed on his door with her slender fingers, a gentle tapping sound accompanied by the faint scratch of her long nails. It had reminded him of the bougainvillea that caressed his bedroom window at night as he lay listening to the movement of its twigs in the breeze. He had opened the door and felt his stomach do that somersault thing again as he took in her slim, sinuous figure wrapped in a black cheongsam with a snaking pattern of cherry blossom. She had let down her long, thick black hair and lifted one side with a red blossom pin that had floated up from the hem to settle on her delicate ear.

 

Later, as he lay in bed, he remembered nothing of the talk of their families or the menu they had sampled that night, for all he could see was the movement of her hands, the sleekness of her arms and the smoothness of her neck in its mandarin collar surround. As they waited for the lift to his bedroom she had stood gracefully under an arch by a Tibetan cherry tree. The deep mahogany of their twin skins in the shadowy half-light had produced a rapture so unknown and unfamiliar that he had started at the ping of the elevator.

 

She had waited for him to change into his pyjamas, tactfully pouring a drink of water for him from the small fridge in the hallway, while he had stumbled and struggled in the bathroom. Dismayed at the Spiderman design he had jumped under the covers and lain there uncertainly as she had turned out the main light and placed the glass by his night table. When she sat down beside him she had reached for his teddy that had been left undetected on the floor; reluctantly he had taken it from her rolling over to place it casually on the armchair the other side of his bed. As he settled again she had smoothed back his fringe and kissed him on the forehead bidding him the sweetest of dreams.

 

The shape of her lips and the slit of her dress had all ready made him tremble, the tiniest toll of an adolescent bell murmuring deeply from the pit of his tummy. But this was nothing to the musky fragrance that had settled around him as a lock of her hair had softly tickled the side of his face. He had slyly widened his nostrils to capture the aroma like a guilty thurifer addicted to his incense at church. Then he had turned over and held his breath as she left him, unwilling to lose the precious essence inside him until at last he could hold on no longer.

 

That night he awoke afraid of the darkness and the dream that had disturbed him from his sleep. He cried for his mother and yearned for her presence knowing it was only in vain; finally he plucked up the courage to call Lily’s number in fear that he was acting out of turn. But she answered him tenderly and brought him back to her room where she protectively insisted he nestle in her bed and try to catch up with his sleep once more; meanwhile she watched television with the volume turned low, her willowy frame extended on the sofa not six feet from his head. He basked in the calm of her soothing balm and he slept.

 

The next morning he awakened to the gentle hum of the air conditioner, snugly warm under a sheet and a blanket. Slowly he sensed that he was not alone as the familiar bouquet that had ravaged his senses once again enveloped his being. As he listened intently he realised she was breathing behind him to a rhythm that indicated sleep. He lay there in terror unsure of himself, aware that at any moment she might wake; but as the minutes passed and she remained in oblivion he relaxed and slowly turned to face her. The blanket had been folded over for his benefit and she lay on her back with only the sheet as a cover. She was facing away, neck arched with dark hair streaming up over the white pillow, the taut skin on her shoulders gleaming like the polished bronzed sculpture of a recumbent madonna, the rise of her breasts demurely protected from exposure.

 

When she finally stirred he shut his eyes in pretence of sleep, devout in his deception as she rose and glided in her purity to the shower and the refuge of her wardrobe. With a deep sigh Anthony sunk his head in her pillow and allowed himself to be transported away.

 

“Antoine, I swear you are the best nose in the business and I think this might be your best yet!”

 

“Madame is too kind,” replied the perfumier, his accent more Powys than Paris.

 

“So tell me, what was your inspiration for this divine fragrance? No let me guess, is there a hint of patchouli? Of bergamot perhaps, and yes maybe jasmine and coriander? And sandalwood of course, always the sandalwood! Hmm...it is complex is it not?”

 

“Indeed, it has taken me a lifetime to conceive this sensuous essence, one that I would humbly agree, my lady, is beyond compare.”

 

“And what will you call it?”

 

“Eau de nenuphar,” he quietly confirmed.

 

The end.

 

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CURRENT COMPETITIONS

Click on a link below to choose a Sentinel Literary Quarterly competition to enter

 

Short Story Competition (July 2010)

 

Poetry Competition (July 2010)

 

Sentinel Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2010

 

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