"Your dream is part of the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne. In it, you are Theseus, the woman is Ariadne, the taverna owner is Dionysus, and the hooded man, Thanatos, or death. I'm afraid this is the only possible interpretation."
"Theseus? The one who slew the Minotaur?" Ted asked.
"Yes, you know the story. He found his way out of the labyrinth using a magic thread-- an almost invisible wire actually-- that was given to him by Ariadne. He promised to take her away from Crete, and he did, but then he abandoned her on the island of Naxos.
"Almost Invisible wire? I may have seen something like that in my dream, something gold, shimmering, a flash of wire, no thicker than a strand of spider web. Then I would feel the pain in my chest."
The doctor picked up something that was piled on the implement tray next to the chair. He spread his hands in front of Ted's face, and between them Ted could see a thin filament of wire, one end of which terminated in the doctor's left hand with what appeared be a fishhook that was gold and clotted with blood and bits of gore.
"And here is the end of the wire and its hook that I have just now removed from your rib cage so that you can have a good look at it," the doctor said.
Ted just stared at the wire and hook, unable to muster any kind of response to it whatsoever. It was unreal, captivating.
"You see Ariadne could never forgive Theseus for leaving her behind. After she married Dionysus and ascended into the pantheon of the Gods she plotted her eternal revenge. She talked Dionysus into driving Theseus mad with wine. Then she put the same wire that once saved Theseus into the eager hands of Thanatos, death, the reaper. It is by this wire that Thanotos reels Theseus to his death in life after life, until such time that Ariadne will choose to forgive him. And as your dream revealed to you Theseus, you will not be forgiven yet. I must say you've been a somewhat of a slow learner-- always so full of yourself, always so lacking in compassion."
"Oh boy, you've got a pretty wild imagination doc. I think we better just leave it here. I'm ready to pay my fee and go. This has been very entertaining." Ted gave his body the command to sit up, but absolutely nothing happened.
"Your fee, as you call it, will be to die rather painfully now. Then I will extract one liter of your blood. Your blood will be fed to a pomegranate tree, and when the fruit from that tree is eaten by a pregnant woman, you will be born again. You will live to your present age once more and then, you will find your way back to me. Why do you think you wound up here in my office, the office of the god of death?"
"Look, l will make it worth your while. Just let me get up and leave. Please."
"You know I can't do that Theseus."
"Theseus! For god's sake, do you expect me to believe any of this weird crap you've been telling me, you crazy, demented, sick, sick bastard?"
As though summing things up, the doctor's lazy eye revolved once in a complete circle.
"No, no I don't," he said calmly. "You never do."