portrait of williams shakespeare
Adventure, Short stories

An encounter with the portrait of Williams Shakespeare

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I walked into Shakespeare room at Watbridge hotel and took a seat directly opposite the portrait of Williams Shakespeare hanging by the wall.
I gazed at my wristwatch and saw the time was few minutes to 5pm. I wondered why I was the only one in the room and why the members of the Uyo book club were yet to turn up for the monthly meeting. Then I suddenly realized that the day was the third and not the fourth Saturday in the month. So I was in the room on a non-meeting day.

I gazed around the room to while away time before leaving. I tried to sketch the portrait of Nelson Mandela on the wall in my jotter and gave up. Then I stared at the portrait of Williams Shakespeare.

Suddenly, the room was enveloped in darkness and the walls dissolved! The spot on the world where the portrait of Shakespeare hung had turned into a hollow space with an antique table and chair. I stared at the table in astonishment and saw a man garbed in a black flowing outfit and wearing the oddest pair of shoes I have ever seen in my life. He sat at the table with a scroll and a feathery pen in his hands. He looked up at me and appeared to be shocked at my presence.

“How art thee, young Sir?” He said to me in an echoing voice.

“I am fine Sir, who are you?” I asked.

“I am Shakespeare the writ’r” He replied.

“Wow, I don’t understand what is happening but your portrait used to hang here.”

“Oh, yond is int’resting”

“I am trying to understand your English but I must say, I love all your books. You are universally acclaimed as the father of English literature, it is good to meet you!” I gushed in excitement.

“Thanketh thee. Which of mine own plays doth thee liketh most?” He questioned with a raised eyebrow.

“I like Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Hamlet, The taming of the shrew, The merchant of Venice, The tempest, etc! All of your plays are studied in schools all over the world!”
Shakespeare nodded his head and asked, “Doth people still readeth books in the w’rd?”

“Yes, we still read! That’s why we have a book club here!” I exclaimed.

The man turned his attention away from me to the scroll on the table. He started scribbling on it with his feather, dipping the tip occasionally in a tiny box that I was certain, contained ink. I tried to stand up to move towards him but I was stuck to my seat by an invisible force. There seemed to be an invisible barrier between me and him, a divide between the past and the present.

“Sir, I can see you are busy writing, please what are you writing?”
He gazed at me and replied, “I am writing a play and as thee can view with thine eyes, I am engrosss’d. Thus I wond’r wherefore thou disturbeth me.”

“But Sir, how can you be writing a play now? You are dead, you died tens of centuries ago!”

“Thou art comical. I am not dead, I am alive. A writ’r nev’r dies because their w’rks keepeth life.”

At that point I didn’t know what else to say, so I kept quiet and watched him as he wrote.

After a few minutes, he looked at me with a sad expression on his face, “Thy w’rld is quite different from mine w’rld, The mod’rn ‘ra is far bett’r than the fusty ‘ra” he said gloomily.

“Well, you could be right Sir. Do you know we no longer buy books in hard copies but we now read books in softcopies on devices held in our palms?”
Shakespeare opened his mouth in amazement.

“…But your era had the best literature!” I stated.

He shrugged his shoulders and immediately I started hearing bells chiming.
Shakespeare was startled by the sound of the bells, he dropped his pen and said to me, “O, farewell young sir”.

“No, don’t say goodbye yet! Let me get you some refreshments! You need to taste our food. What can I offer you sir?”

“Bringeth me delicious meal and a tasty bombard of wine, alloweth me drinketh and make merry!” He instructed.

“Okay, let me get the waiters to serve you, please.

As I stood up to call a waiter, the new walls started shaking and dissolving and Shakespeare began fading away….

“Farewell!” was the last thing he said as the lights came on in the room.

I snapped out of my reverie.

The room was in its normal state.

You have been staring at that portrait of Williams Shakespeare for over 10 minutes, is everything okay?” A staff of Watbridge hotel questioned me.

I stood up with a smile, “I am fine, I was just about leaving.”

I walked out of the room shutting the door behind me.

Iniobong Leroi Umoh is a storyteller, a satirist and creative writer. He blurs the line between reality and fiction and seeks to create a connection with the reader through engaging content. His works have been featured across various online and offline platforms. He hopes to one day travel around the world on a luxury yacht, sipping expensive wine and documenting all his experiences in a journal. You can send him a mail at infoleric@gmail.com.

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