The dreams were beginning to take a toll on Faisal. His eyelids would be half-open at most, and even strangers asked about the bags bulging under his eyes.
If he tried to stay awake, his body would force him to nod off without warning, and he would be back there. Slowly making his way on hands and knees across a rope bridge slung across a bottomless chasm. Suddenly he would realize: this was a web. Then he would see the victim. Trapped, struggling to escape its wrappings. The dream would move Faisal closer, ever closer, but he did not want to know what was inside. Just as the victim was in reach, Faisal would awaken.
The nightly cycle tortured Faisal until he decided: he must surrender any hope of this dream changing. Which of course it did. That night took him along the web to his struggling prey, and, finally removing the silken wrappings, inside he found himself. A version of Faisal with the myriad eyes of a spider.
Faisal awoke knowing two things for certain: that the web dream was over, and that he was still, in fact, asleep. For he saw himself from above. He descended toward his body, coming to rest on his own nose. A dreadful peace settled over him as he understood: he was still the spider. He watched the spider stalk to Faisal’s eyelid and sink its venom deep inside the tear duct. Pain stabbed through his head as his spider-self scurried to repeat the process on the other side.
When Faisal finally, truly awoke, he could hear his family speaking on all sides. He complained of the darkness, and an unrecognizable voice explained that he had sustained catastrophic damage to his eyes through a spider bite during his sleep.
The fogginess faded somewhat, and Faisal looked around himself. The scene was that of his own room at home, not that of a hospital. He reached up and touched bandages covering his eyes, yet he saw clearly. In many directions at once. Then his point of view tilted and climbed up the wall, coming to rest in the midst of a spider web in his bedroom’s ceiling.