Cobwebs Tango

By all accounts, Peter Cox was a plain man. He worked plain, he talked plain, he lived plain. But one workday, common as any workday, he fell ill. To his coworkers, it was just a flash and a sweat. The sort of ill that hurt, but not one bad enough to use a day of freedom on. But Peter's mind spun, and soon he saw images, which broke him, and he fell into a faint in front of George.

Peter spent the rest of his workday asleep at the doctor's. When he woke up, he recalled the entire experience to the doctor (forgetting the images), and the doctor panicked. He decided to send him onto a therapist 20 minutes up the way. After weighting the costs, Peter's boss (not George) decided to give Peter paid time off to see the therapist. He mandated that he see him "at least— most, four times." So, Peter saw the therapist.

Peter managed to hide all this from his wife, a meek and asymmetrical woman. For those therapy sessions, his ordinary behavior carried on. This satisfied his boss. Yet, somewhere around his second therapy session, his dreams at night began to form more than usual. They became like… like the images he had seen before fainting (which he now remembered). They showed in great detail, people he knew (not George) in tragic scenarios. A coworker never making it to work, an uncle withering while away from his family, even Peter himself narrowly avoiding a collision. He began to not sleep well.

Peter went about his business, and his therapy sessions went well. The therapist saw some common anxiety in him, and they worked at it without any external treatment. He did not mention the dreams to the therapist, as he found them to "not have much of any meaning."

Around a workweek later (before his third therapy session), Peter returned home from an ordinary workday to the news that his uncle had passed away. Apparently, he had been in failing health for a while, but no one knew because he was out in California. Peter immediately made the connection to one of his dreams, and it greatly unsettled him. He began to worry about the other events he had seen.

After three workdays of Peter driving exceedingly careful and two nights of little sleep, his uncle arrived from California (as a corpse) to allow for his funeral to take place. Peter appeared awfully disturbed at the funeral for a man he had barely met, but the "I didn’t even know he was sick…" comments really started to weigh on him. However, he hid this from his wife and the therapist.

By the time Peter had narrowly avoid an accident on the road, he began to keep a journal of these dreams. His wife suspected nothing of it, and never thought to check the book. As he wrote down his increasing dreams, he began to notice something— they were happening in succession.

The dreams worsened, and during Peter's last provided therapy session, he decided to tell the therapist about the dreams (in spite of his fear of seeming "off his rocker"). The therapist did not initially believe him, but Peter decided to return for a fifth session on his own dollar. Surely enough, a dream came true, in a way that the therapist could verify. The therapist tried his hardest to treat it as a coincidence, but it greatly disturbed him.

Before Peter's sixth therapy session, he fell ill in the workplace again. He assured his boss that it would not happen again, and the workplace returned to normal. But while he was in a faint, Peter saw his worst images yet— with one even resulting in his own death. It was the fourth in a series of twelve and consisted of him once again falling ill at the workplace. However, in this dream, he never returned from the workplace.

At his sixth therapy session, Peter told the therapist about this image (along with eight more that were in the sequence). The therapist admitted his belief, but said he had to consult with colleagues before taking any action. He requested that Peter come in for a seventh appointment, scheduled for the end of the workweek.

The next morning Peter was gone. His boss called his wife to ask why he hadn't shown, and she explained that she didn't know, but that he had left the house several hours earlier than usual, before she had even woken up. His boss made reference to Peter's "ills", assuming that his wife knew of them— but she knew none of it. In fact, between his erratic behavior and late returns home from work, she had begun to suspect that he was cheating on her. After their conversation, Peter's boss directed Peter's wife to Peter's therapist. The therapist agreed to talk to her outside of office hours, so the two of them met at the end of the workday. He explained the situation to her—the images, the journal, everything. This greatly distressed her, as she herself had witnessed several of them take place. The therapist directed her to search the house for the journal, so she decided to do that before reporting him as missing.

When Peter's wife returned home, she could not find the journal anywhere. Arguably worse, there was a missing shotgun. She began to look up the police's phone number in their phonebook, but midway she had a realization.

The therapist told Peter's wife "every dream and image that he knew." Yet, she was in none of them. To her, this meant that either Peter was hiding something from the therapist, or the therapist was hiding something from her. She found it simply unimaginable that she was absent from all of them. So, like her husband, she grabbed a shotgun and ran. All this greatly disturbed Peter's boss and George, but their worry lasted for only about a workweek.