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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

First Prize Winner, SLQ Short Story Competition (April 2010)

 

Anthony screwed up his eyes against the glaring brightness of the Singapore sun. The dizzying heat wafted up from the tarmac and enveloped him with its sweaty blanket. His skin prickled as the pores fought to cope with the temperature and humidity. Unsteadily he stepped down the airplane stairs one small hand mistakenly grabbing the hot metallic rail. He winced, automatically tightening the grip of his other hand on the teddy bear that had been his constant companion since leaving home. Only now, for the first time, did he consider ditching it.

 

At the bottom of the stairs stood a more radiant, beguiling goddess, the orchid green cap that tilted on her jet black hair an ambrosial berry that crowned her vanilla white smile. His puny legs trembled as his feet stretched forward to meet each rising step. The rigid soles of his black leather school shoes bounced off the aluminium making an embarrassing clatter in spite of the whine from the engines. He concentrated with all his might trying his best to be seventeen not seven. On the last step he couldn’t help himself; as he proudly looked up to engage the Malaysian beauty with his brightest beam [the one that his mother had so often stamped with her cheek-pinching approval] he slipped his footing, scraping his knee as he fell into her arms. The burning sensation of the graze was nothing to the boiling redness of his cheeks. For one brief moment he remained collapsed not wanting to face his embarrassment and in that second he felt the soft smoothness of her jacket on his nose and the silky coolness of her cream blouse on his chin. But what he remembered most was the delicious smell of her embrace; forever in his memory the scent that would remind him of her exotic race.

 

“Hello An-toni,” she sang softly in his left ear, ignoring the incident to his anguished delight. “My name is Laila but you can call me Lily.”

 

Later in the queue at passport control she crouched down and licked her thumb, pressing it gently against the raw skin. In that moment, as he stared at the smooth honey-coloured patella of her stockinged knees, flashing a glance further up to the dark entrance of her mustard skirt, he felt a guilty twinge in his stomach that he nervously protected with his teddy. Her black hair, tied in a tight, neat bun bobbled in front of him as she sucked in her breath. ‘Would he wash his knee ever again?’ he wondered.

 

“That must hurt An-toni,” she cooed. He didn’t know whether to nod the truth or bravely shake his head so that in the end it felt like the rocking movement Sunil the servant always used with his mother when she berated him for spending the morning baking bread. He wished he could say something interesting, change the subject to a more noteworthy topic but his tongue lay still in his mouth heeding the warning from his flustered brain. If he said the wrong thing he might break the magic.

 

As she stood and straightened her skirt a pilot in a smart, dark blue uniform acknowledged her and they began to converse. Anthony, normally in awe of these daredevils of the sky, found himself hating his rival, surprised by the strength of this feeling. He smarted at the man’s tallness, at the wavy locks escaping from his peaked cap, at the gold braids that bravely glinted in the sunlight as he confidently shifted his weight and black leather briefcase while talking in the easy manner that had failed him. He hated it when Lily ruffled his hair as the pilot said something about him, mistrusting the adult laughter and the way one of her delicate ankles twisted and raised her shiny heel off the marble floor.

 

But he loved it when she looked at him in the minibus on the way to the hotel, winking and smiling as she played with her compact and stroked his hair back into place. Her eyeliner and lipstick reminded him of one of his sister’s dolls but he greeted the image with impatient contempt unimpressed with a childish comparison he quickly suppressed.

 

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Sentinel Literary Quarterly is Published by Sentinel Poetry Movement | Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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