Shakespeare has written plays not only as a legacy to England, but tales that have stirred up souls all across the world.
We know of his Hamlet, chasing the ghost of his father and seeking the death of his uncle. We know of Lady Macbeth desperately trying to wash blood off her criminal hands. We know of Romeo screaming - "Juliet, my Juliet!"
But what we don't know is of one fine miracle which occurred in a public London school, when the teacher did not weigh the potential impact of his words upon looked at his class from behind a pair of round goggles, twisted his left palm with a gracious manner and said to the seventh grader.
"If there is immortality to be found among our lives, it hides in the stories of Shakespeare. His legacy is unfading. He is unfading. If there is one miracle I wish could happen, it would be for Shakespeare to be born again. A new William Shakespeare of the modern world. Maybe one of you... undecided little children, will one day aspire to such greatness. That is my goal as your teacher. That, will be the dream of Mr. Anderson coming true."
A nice pep talk from Mr. Anderson. Seems like something every more than averagely dramatic English teacher would say in a London public school. What he didn't know, is that you should beware of your dreams for they have a nasty habit of coming true.
Will, or William, coincidentally sharing his name with Shakespeare, was one of the students sitting in the back of the class. One of those who usually didn't pay much attention. Neither was he the macho type to sit in the back and roll cigarettes for after school or to tug the hair of whichever girl sat in front of him, a strange activity of which many middle school boys derived much pleasure.
Will, was the most average kid, who still hadn't found a calling and neither was he looking for it.
This strong inability and apathy to fit in remained with the boy all through his years, later turning into a strange craziness that allowed Will to create mad things with no regard of their practical application in the real world.
Will began finding himself in the eighth grade, when the class started getting computer science lessons. The circuitry, the software flowing in them through electricity, the endless wires with which many of his classmates only got as far as making a lightbulb turn on and waiting for the lunch break to arrive, made more sense to Will, than anything else ever could.
He gradually, year after year, started to explore and understand that the computer system works like the human brain and not only. That fundamentally, it's all the same algorithm which drives our lives in any sphere. An input - water getting on the soil under a flower. Storage - the roots taking the water in. Processing - the water going into the stem, the petals, the leaves. Output - the flower's nectar for the bees. The scent of the flower. Its beautiful look.
Will understood the laws of nature by digging into something that logically shouldn't have had anything in common with it.
And he went from an unnoticed kid in the back of the class to one of the brightest minds of our day in a matter of as little as fifteen years.
He came up with all sorts of crazy ideas: flying houses, self cooking food with appetite sensors, childbirth through painless teleportation of the infant from the womb straight into the mother's hands... Will was able to bend the laws of nature as they previously were understood. He showed that everything which can undergo these four processes is able to be engineered.
However one day, sitting in his smart house with the thermostatic temperature sensing slippers on his feet, Will began to get sick of all those ideas. He was tired of the fun he was having with divine endless possibilities which technology was offering him.
And that's when the calm gentle face of Mr. Shakespeare, in the most simple hardcover book, looked at him from the corner of the bookshelf. With such airy hair, deeply penetrating eyes, some elegant clothing...
Will went back digging in his memory, to the torturous days of Mr. Anderson's classes when he sat in the back and yawned at metaphors and similes. And his memory arrived at that first time, when the teacher expressed his wish, his dream, and when Will was coincidentally not taking an open-eyed afternoon-nap during the lecture.
Will understood that one thing he had yet not done was to make someone's dream come true.
The boy's life suddenly took a whole new turn. He was seeing a vision, his mind was ready to take a flight.
With months of planning, which was a really long time for this mastermind, Will managed to build a machine. A brigner back of the dead. He didn't make much fuss about it on the news. No one knew except for him. And for that man whom he summoned.
One fine Sunday evening, Shakespeare went knocking on Mr. Anderson's door.
"Hi. I am Will."
Mr. Anderson dropped the green poetry book from his hands. He was about to fall right after it. And he would, if Shakespeare himself wouldn't take a hold of the teacher.
"Now, now. thee shouldn't panic. I wast hath sent hither by thy inhorn man: Will. That gent hath said thee wast his English teacher.
"Will... Oh my God. Why would he do this to you. I am so sorry to disturb your peace Mr. Shakespeare. That boy is a real rascal. Last week he invented a toaster that spits bread right into one's mouth with a carefully planned trajectory. A crazy, crazy man."
"Well that's quite comical if thee asketh me."
"Yes. To be completely honest, sir, I also have one of those toasters in my kitchen. Please. Come inside."
As Shakespeare and Mr Anderson sat in the living room around a cup of tea, Shakespeare began to look around, pleased to find many of his books on the shelf.
Then he squirmed his eyes. The professor was definitely more anxious than excited for this man's presence in his living room. This to him seemed unnatural to say the least. He wasn't sure whether he should believe that it is Shakespeare in front of him, or simply a pixelated illusion of the writer.
Shakespeare got up and tooks a copy of Romeo and Juliet. He looked carefully at the edition and ripped the hardcover right off the book's pages with a monstrous power.
"Sir, what is wrong?" Mr Anderson stood up.
"Look at this. " Pointing his portrait at Mr Anderson. "Look at mine lips. Mine lips don't behold like that! Those gents madeth me behold like a mistress. God, how horrid. Thither art probably coequal conspiracy theories flying around that ho, Shakespeare wast a mistress. Well, no wonder!"
"Mr Shakespeare, conspiracy theories should not bother you. Let me see. Those look nothing like women's lips. I am sorry if the artists' work doesn't please you."
For a while Shakespeare sits down, displeased and scarred. Mr Anderson understands he needs to keep the conversation going.
"But it's not the portrait that makes you the genius you are and which people recognize. It's how your works touch the hearts and souls and express the depths of the human condition. Of all the wickedness and dirt that flows in the seemingly clean human hearts. Your books are mirrors for the people, to see how perversion can seep into them and get a hold. Make them commit murders, treacheries, monstrosities. Your works are as modern in the year 2035 as they were back in the 17th century. There are still Lady Macbeths among us. There are still Hamlets. You are immortal, Mr Shakespeare. Nothing has changed. Technology is changing, transportation is changing. We no longer ride in horse carriages, but greed still drives the human race, envy still covers us head to toe. The laws that work on us now are the same laws which were in piece back then, and those laws will hold true even a thousand years later. So what is a little portrait, if not just a blunder of the artist. You shouldn't feel disappointed, Mr. Shakespeare."
Shakespeare remains quiet. Mr Anderson imagined he would be a sensitive man, but not to this extent. After so many years of laying dead, Shakespeare was happy that his works still remained true. That people didn't get any better, that the tragedies of life still lived on as he believed they would.
"So what doth thee sayeth, we consume one of those toasts. "
"Oh, you mean from Will's toaster... Sure! I think we need a different kind of toast for this special occasion too, sir."
"Shall we drinketh to the unchangingly tragic and, like a toad, ugly and venomous condition of the humans? And of their occasional joy and purity? God, I just wish those gents recalled me being a bit more masculine than this..."
"Is you complaining about your portrait only a comic relief for this crossroad in the times?"
"You art one cunning sir, Mr Anderson. I wanteth people to recall that anything thee input thee wilt output. What thee giveth, thee wilt taketh. beest t greed, love, sorrow or joy. thee needeth to findeth what thee wanteth to nourish, and giveth t what t doth take to groweth into something quite quaint, something more marvellous than thee could ever imagine."
And it didn't matter whether it really was Shakespeare in front of him or simply an illusion. It were his words that mattered, which gave the writer the great presence he had.
The next morning, when Shakespeare had disappeared without a trace to be tracked, Mr Anderson took up the responsibility of starting a new edition of books of Shakespeare with a whole different portrait of the man decorating its new cover.
One Will left back to the passage of time, leaving the other to lead the humanity toward a different future, with yet the same constraints of our laws and of our infinite fragility.
And words, words, words, will keep floating, till the end of time. Till the break of dawn.
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I really liked the narration in the beginning and you had a really nice twist on the prompt! :)
Very pleasant to hear you enjoyed the story, thank you :)
Creative take on the prompt!
Thank you :)