Before My Heart Falls watch blog. My recent conspiracy post: The original Mandarin is inside the Pastebin, along with their english translation. After I received their message, I suggested they post it, but their account was too young, so I promised I would post it for them. 所有中国人民应该立即发现和学习的最大图片. The Biggest Picture that all Chinese people should immediately discover and learn. I believe and have compelling circumstantial reason to believe that the American CIA injected and planted the so-called "Wuhan virus" into Wuhan, China in or around the dates of October 31st 2019 and December 31st 2019 with intent to harm China and with potential to destablize and perhaps even motive to collapse China from within. US wants to re-route global supply chain around China, to bypass China and isolate China on the world stage vs China wanting to use Huawei-enabled digital-blockchain Yuan, cashless WeChat, etc to topple the US Petrodollar hegemony and the BRI relationships and bi-lateral trade/infrastructure agreements in order to propel the world to adopt the use of the digital Yuan, and in order to have the world bypass the SWIFT system (since US has abused its dollar status and weaponized it for unlawful sanctions) and the US dollar as the default global reserve currency etc. It was a race against time to see whom would pull the rug from underneath the other countries feet first. US, unable to compete fairly due to its structural disadvantages and many other shortcomings, decided to go the biological attack route, which allows it to hide under the cover of "plausible denialability" since it is more difficult to conclusively prove the attribution or source of a new mysterious virus than it would be to track the trajectory of an incoming thermnonuclear missile etc) to inflict maximum damage to China while minimizing the potential blow back. Right after the signing of the so-called "Trade Deal" in which the US didn't get what it wanted (the US did not get the sort of Plaza Accord concessions that it was hoping XI/CCP would kowtow to etc) and immediately into the start of the new decade (marking the turn of the second decade in what the PNAC would called the "new american century" the US resorted to biological attacks in order to contain, isolate and attempt to cripple China/CCP internally and on the world stage at large. After its NED/CIA sponsored Hong Kong destablization/radicialization didn't spill over into the rest of mainland China, and right after its intense year long anti-China anti-Huawei campaigns have peaked in effectiveness, the US releases the evil demon virus into the heart of mainland China, at the absolutely worst possible location (Wuhan being one of the Chinese main Central hubs in terms of transportation and an important city for China's Belt and Road initiatives and estimated to have as high as 8% growth in GDP in 2020) and in also the absolute worse possible timing (right before the Chinese Lunar New year, otherwise known as the greatest annual human migration event, during a time in which shopping, spending and consumerisms activity would have been at a peak etc) in order to cripple China economically, to cut China off from the rest of the world and even force China to isolate its own cities from within, and to have the effect of smearing China's reputation on the world stage and invoking the escalation of fear, racisms and bigotry towards the Chinese people abroad. All this comes right on top of the heels of the event last fall, African swine fever (ASF) which had never before seen in China but now mysteriously appeared with the onset of the US trade war, decimated half of China's pigs, which doubled pork prices and contributed to inflation causing pricy US pork exports to double in China. The odds for two such consequent anomalies, timing and location are exceedingly low. Yet both did occur – in almost perfect sequence. Particularly devasting is the very real possibility that this virus was intentionally engineered to have as long an incubation period as possible, and with the ability to hide within plain site, by being asymptomatic during its initial stages hence making it orders of magnitude more difficult to eradicate. Just recently, as recent as Feb 1st 2020, there has been yet a third mysterious outbreak in China, this time of the bird flu kind that is far more deadly to humans and wiping out Chinese chicken and poultry at the most dire of times. Indeed the coronavirus victims so far, both inside and outside of China, are only people with Chinese type of blood, Haplogroup O-M175, designed to attack that type of blood and specifically Chinese people. Dr. Steven Hatfill Biological Weapons Expert says the Wuhan virus it will have to play it out and "run its course" not only in Wuhan but the greater mainland China. The host Steve Bannon (Trump chief campaign advisor) predicted this will crush China economically, and that its the end of the Xi/BRI/OBOR and will give US the chance to re-route trade of all countries to go-around and bypass China bringing the global supply chain back to US and its allies whilst isolating China economically, politically, etc. They are selling this to the American people and pitching it to the world as this Chinese Belt and Road connectivity is what is allowing this virus to spread so fastly to the rest of the world and that it would behoove mankind and all nations to reconsider the security and stability of their own supply chains and basically urging everyone to pull their companies, people, trade, businesses etc out of China. This is not unlike what Wilber Ross US Commerce Secretary already stated a few days ago. that this virus is good for America and will help bring lots of jobs back to the USA. seems like the goal is to use this event to pull the rug underneath China's development feets. I suppose it could be a coincidence that China, the geopolitical adversary and economic enemy to the United States (according to the US itself) suddenly gets this mysterious virus seemingly more potent than SARS (which itself apparently only targeted Chinese ethnic DNA and left the white/Caucasin population untouched) at the worst possible timing and in the worst possible location. Wuhan being Chinese's central hub and this being the Chinese Lunar New Year, it has the highest ability to spread and go "super viral" whilst impacting the max amount of damage to the stability of the China, both in terms of having the max potential to cause political turmoil in the homeland (ruining people's new year, quarantinee and lockdowns of cities of unprecendeted porportion, causing many Chinese citizens to get angry etc) and doing the maximum amount of possible damaage to the Chinese economy, ruining the New Year in which consumerisms was supposed to be at its very highest points. Even the SARS of 2003 had an negative impact on Chinese GDP by as much as 2% and has already turned out to be far worse and at a much more accelerated speed of spread and deaths. Unsuprisingly without need for a single bullet fired or sanction imposed, it already managed to force China to self-impose the closure of its borders and cities, most nations have already stopped flights to China including the United States itself, on the world stage it is another "ding" for China's image and gives the propaganda mouthpieces of the West something else to gripe about, whilsts at the same time an attempt to cap Chinese One Belt One Road ambitions and sabotage China's growing economy and hegemonic rise. It comes right on the crisp of Trump signing the fake "Trade Deal" and the UK decided to go against the US and work with Huawei. I say something else is going on behind the scenes, more than what we are being told. We could have transition from Trade War, to Tech War to now maybe bio-war, if that is the case, then very likely the US already fired the first, second, and third shots, so to speak. China should at least stay vigilant and have a credible deterrence contingency plan in place. In the nuclear world in which China has DF-41, the "MAD" doctrine is still well in place. But a mystery virus affords far more "plausible deniability" for the US. Thus achieving the goal with less fear of attribution and thus retribution. Instead of directly confronting China in the SCS militaristically immediately, maybe they think a better way to take China down a notch or two would be the use of "other means" to an ends... Science and technology in the world has come a long way since the days of Westerners giving Native Americans blankets laced with smallpox to "thanksgiving" them. It is the human condition to be risk/loss adverse. A nation that would stop at nothing to achieve Maniesft Destiny on the way up surely wouldn't have any qualms of preserving its hegemony at all costs on the way down. After all, the American way of life is nonnegotiable and Graham T. Allison predicted the likelyhood that this confrontation of a rising power with a declining power will inevitably lead to war, and history has shown that to be indeed the case. The US is applying its doctrine of maximum pressure to destroy China on all fronts, with Trade War, Tech and supply chain War, cyberwar, information and pysops war, and now biological warfare and most likely to be followed up with conventional or even nuclear war once US believes China is sufficently weakened. Steve Bannon was hoping to "break the back of the CCP" by cutting off China's supply chain, and was hoping the HK roits was going to catch fire in the rest of the mainland and force the CCP to lose control making it easier to do an opportunistic regime change. I'm sure both China and US have their own red lines. If the US had any involvement in this new virus, if China finds any credible evidence, then there are a number of things China can do besides retailiting with its own bioweapon. for example, we all know the Trade War is not about trade, but wanting China to slow down in terms of hegemonic rise. for example China could simply start building Huangyan Island in the SCS, making a move that would seal the US fate as the "falling empire. If China militarizes the island it would give China total control of the SCS region, so China can declare ADIZ over SCS, America would be pushed back to Guam, and it woulld be the beginning of the end of the petrodollar hegemony (which never could have lasted forever anyway but it would push it up along the timeline to make it collapse that much faster) Some have said that well the virus is RNA single stranded which makes it harder to target any race specific without mutations losing the specificity over many infections cycles. And that if it were double stranded it would make it that much easier to create vaccines for and kill/contain. But I believe in this case it is about maintaining "plausible deniability" whilst not crossing any hard red lines in case attribution is established in the future. A virus outbreak that dings China's GDP by 2 to 5% in 2020 is not comparable to an end of civilization event that wipes out 90% of the Chinese population, for example. Whatever blowback or collateral risk is considered acceptable levels since it was deployed to China's central Wuhan, naturally China has a self interest in containment, and the vast majority of the damage will be internal to China. It may have been engineerred as race specific single stranded RNA and knowingly by hostile forces that predicted by the time it lost its race specificity that China would have already contained it. Hence "mission accomplished" with little attribution and minimal blowback. What better way to undermine China/CCP than to have its population grow resentful of or turn against its very Government! Already Western media is talking about how Chinese are filthy and if it wasn't for eating rats, bats, dogs, etc this wouldn't ever have befallen. Perfect cover for re-enforceing racists stereotypes for the ulterior motives of containing and isolating China, and that of Chinese culture, and Chinese ideology on the world stage. All of this should be seen within the larger context and backdrop of the so called Thucydides's Trap. For various reason, biological warfare against mainland China gives America multiprong strategic and asymmetric advantages, hence why it has now become the method and weapon of choice for the US to use against China. At what point does China take action or else find itself too little and too late to be suffering same fate as Native Americans? History has shown that America is willing to wipe out entire Han civilization to maintain american hegemony and regain full spectrum dominance and supremacy. Kissinger is credited for giving Nixon the idea to open up China. It appears as the 45 year rapprochement comes to a sudden close, the US has regretted the long term decision. When viewed threw the lens of optimization of entropy maximization and the 2nd law of thermodynamics it is all about the counterbalance needed to an unchallenged US uni-polar scheme that impedes the progress and destiny of a universe in evolution. Steve Bannon was quoted to say that it is Ten times more important for the US to kill Huawei than it is for Trump to sign any trade deal. USA realizes that China will soon surpass them if status quo isn't changed. The true motive of the trade war is to decouple the US from China quickly enough to asymmetrically target and destroy any tip of the spear Chinese companies/projects/tech such as the Huawei, 5G, DJI, EV, trains, Cancer research, TikTok, SenseTime, etc etc to cripple China's plans to move up the value chain and hi-tech-ify its economy and to do so with enough force to set back China and permanently prevent it from successfully climbing the arch trajectory of replacing the US. For the US its not just about losing the top spot to China, if America were to ever lose its petrodollar hegemony it would collapse in much the same way as happened to the USSR. The whole US empire is built on house of cards, ever since Brentwood they got away with taxing/usurping the world using the dollar as economic weaponization through 'quantitative easing' and its military to control OPEC to sustain the petrodollar hegemony. In the 1980's Japan became a threat to the US so they forced Tokyo to acquiesce to the Plaza Accord resulting in the "lost four decades" and Japan never recovering. Nowadays Trump, Steve Bannon, Pompeo and other Hawks are trying to impose the same sort of colonization on China, but much harder to do since China doesn't entertain US troops/US bases unlike the Japanese vassal so the next best thing is to subvert Hong Kong by way of CIA/NED and other propaganda techniques. And which nation killed a million civilians in Iraq after a false flag event and a WMD pretext but now is banning Chinese AI startups ostensibly because they care about the human rights of Muslims in China's internal Xinjiang region? This is all part of the bigger picture to contain China's continued rise, as we see that if the US ever lost its hegemony it would be game over. America views Chinese ambitions such as Made In China 2025, One Belt One Road, 5G, AI, etc as existential threats to its very lifestyle and way of life, hence the whole "Huawei is a national security issue" stance. Now even TikTok, a dancing video app, has become a "national security" threat and targeted and singled out by the US Congress. By "national security" they really mean China is offering the world a better deal and they are pissed that they are being undercut and view Chinese success as a direct threat to American hegemony. The West had its chance to help out Africa but did nothing, now China wants to help them develop and US is getting resentful, the supreme irony is accusing China of predatory lending. This will only get much worse, Xi predicted this will last a period of 30 years until which time China has become the undisputed Number One in the world economically, technologically, politically and militaristically. As the declining power the US isnt going to just go down without fighting. Just like the Roma Empire, as the US declines on the way down the lip service of freedom, democracy, etc stops and the true colors of the ugly side all comes out, they just did another coup in Bolivia after China signed a lithium deal to secure development of batteries for EVs, and now US is even sanctioning its own "allies" like Germany for daring to buy energy from Russia (NordStream 2, etc. Like others have already brought to light and mentioned, with the multiple initial sources surrounding this Wuhan virus, it makes "intentionally starting a pandemic with a bioweapon" scenario much more likely. The virus failed to spread with the first group of targets, so they tried again with the market. For those who refuse to believe the US could ever be morally capable of doing such a coordinated strike and biological attack on mainland China, even if you do not at all believe US had anything to do with it, and even if US in reality had nothing to do with it, it still doesn't change the fact that this virus has changed the power dynamic and upset the balance; and we already have evidence from US such as Wilber Ross etc willing to take full advantage of the situation. China must be prepared to adapt and adjust to this fluid situation as well, short term and as well as long term. This thing could very well politically isolate China (it is already having such an effect) and crater China's GDP, and most importantly strategically pressure China to give up its long term development aspirations and also to sign away certain concessions (give up on MIC2025 etc) right at the most critical moment in history. Sure we understand that the flu killed already 10000 US person this year alone, I also know the numbers in terms of how many up to 80, 000 die of flu alone last year. And yes some of the hysteria and panic of this Wuhan thing may cause more damage than good at this point, sometimes the fear is more than just the virus damage itself. Having said that, on the other hand, the facts are this banning of all flights from China to the US, the enactment of the quarantine is described by the US CDC itself as the heaviest action it has taken in 50 years. Indeed when was the last time Russia closed its borders to China? When was the last time Disney shutdown, and all these hundreds of other things shutting down in China and all the countries closing their door to China? Precisely my point regardless of whether or not the real or percieved threat of this virus is overblown or not, the fact is the reaction to it has already greatly harmed China substantitively at what could be argued as the worst possible timing. so yes, this virus has changed the power dynamic and upset the balance. The fact of the matter is the rest of the world isn't closing its flights and borders to the USA, despite the flu in the US killing way more people, but the world is closing its doors to China. This cannot be good no matter how it is spun. I'm concerned this will be the point of inflection in which the tide permanently turns and China regresses back to being closed, isolated country and America pulled the supply chain rung under China's feet while China is down/ill and then convinences the rest of the world to a new Brentwoods to basically maintain US hegemony for the next 100 years. Perhaps this is what Trump was secretly hinting at when he gleefully announced at Davos that "now is the time for renewed and great optimism. Maybe he was hinting at world events to come that will greatly benefit America at the direct expense of China, events that by the time he made the speech at Davos would have already been put in place by the CIA. If America has declared war on China. first by economic decoupling via sanctions and tariffs then by trying to kill off Chinese technology ascension by attempting to cut off China's tech supply chain, and finally by covert biowarfare to destroy China's food supply and then poision the Chinese people with a sinister virus in hopes of destablizing the entire country. etc and by all appearances it has, with Pompeo openly stating that the Chinese CCP was the "central threat of our times" and Bannon calling for Trump to "takedown Xi" and "break the spirit and crack the back of the Chinese people" then it behooves China to defend itself and its citizens and interests appropriately. This information better be spread across Chinese media so that the average Chinese develops a healthy and warranted suspicion of certain nations that have taken it upon themselves to stop at nothing to destroy the Chinese way of life and to destroy China's development and progress. Making more mainland Chinese aware of the underlining truth that all of China is constantly being targeted with warfare of all categories and at all levels by everything American cannot possibly be a bad thing. America has been applying every kind of means of warfare that exists under the sun against China, against the Chinese government and against the Chinese people and their well-being; be it Trade War, Economic War, Proxy War (Taiwan, HK, etc) Tech War (Huawei/5G/AI/tiktok) Supply Chain War, CyberWar, Information propaganda Warfare (including the "reverse conspiracy theory" and other false flags) Biological Warfare and soon to be Conventional war and perhaps even someday Nuclear war. The Chinese people for their own good should be more aware of the ideological war that America has inflicted upon the Chinese citizens both at home and abroad. The stark constrasting juxposition could not be more supremely ironic and hypocritical. Brain drain from the rest of the nations in the world to the US is called "free market" and labeled as "freedom loving scientists going to work in open democractic Universities with higher pay and better quality of life" and yet this same notion of "brain drain" from the US to the rest of the world is called "intellectual property theft. spying" or "sending spies to steal 'American technology. For when as China or Russia or India jailed their scientists for working with US universities and earning US research grants. If they did that, immediately the US media will instantly accuse them of being "totalitarian communist police state with no academic freedom" etc. During China's moment of greatest need and vulnerability we see Westerners racism and xenophobia come out in full blossom from Universities that say it is normal to be xenophobia to so-called "free speech" newspapers that take delight in China's plight and openly incite hatred and racisms by publishing intentionally vile depictions of the Chinese people and the Chinese flag in order to kick China while it is down. America knows that "time is on China's side" be it with regards to GDP PPP, or the situation in the South China Sea, or that of Hong Kong, and later Taiwan, as China's sphere of influence continues to grow in Eurasia; or even in the larger context of the digital blockchain Yuan and China's BRI/OBOR to replace or supplant the US petrodollar hegemony and so many other aspects. America knows that if status quo doesn't abruptly change that one day it will be too late to confront China. Trump, as their self-proclaimed "Chosen One" has openly stated from the beginning that he won't allow China to surpass America "on his watch" and that if his administration doesn't stop China right now that no future generation of administrations will ever be able to do so again. The US recognizes that the situation is quickly reaching an inflection point past which there is no point of return or going back. It is now or never. And since a direct nuclear confrontation is not going to help America achieve its goals or retaining its status, nor reversing its decline, and coming back on top in terms of once again being sole unipolar hyperpower with no contender or meaningful challenger, then only option left after a failed trade war and failed tech war was to attack China in the back by secretly using biological warfare against China, not once, not twice, but now for a third and potentially ever more devastating time as each attack is increased in boldness and exponential in unprovoked escalation. The end. After I promised to post it, he sent me one final message to underline and summarize everything said: Motive, means, and TIMING, all just too suspicious. in terms of the African Swine Flu that started attacking chinese pigs for the VERY FIRST TIME immediately after Trump started the Trade war in 2018 causing China to buy MORE Pork from the US at higher price/cost! Then immediately after China signs the "trade deal phase 1" this wuhan virus happens, and US already saying they will bring jobs back and push china harder on phase 2. Then, on top of everything, bird flu happens in china too, and now chickens are going dead! The timing is just too suspect, how come India and bunch of other dirty countries that eat bats and whatever never had outbreak? Then they found out this virus only targets Chinese DNA. We also noticed that the only Asian donor (male) has a much higher ACE2-expressing cell ratio than white and African American donors (2. 50% vs. 0. 47% of all cells. This might explain the observation that the new Coronavirus pandemic and previous SARS-Cov pandemic are concentrated in the Asian area. The result indicates that the ACE2 virus receptor expression is concentrated in a small population of type II alveolar cells (AT2. Surprisingly, we found that this population of ACE2-expressing AT2 also highly expressed many other genes that positively regulating viral reproduction and transmission. A comparison between eight individual samples demonstrated that the Asian male one has an extremely large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung. ” Americans of Chinese descent, including those with partial Chinese ancestry constitute 1. 5% of the total U. S. population as of 2017. Which conspiracy do you like more? Which one is more believable.
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I feel like I might be going crazy. I don't know. Everything seemed fine in the beginning but now it's starting to get a little weird. For background, I met Will at a party. One of my neighbors down the hall had a party when he first moved in, invited some of his friends and the neighbors. It was one of those, bring your friends, and your friends friends. Will and I took bets on how long it would take for the party to get shut down. It only lasted an hour before the cops showed up because of a noise complaint. The neighbors still a party animal, but he tends to do his partying elsewhere now. When we first started dating, Will was great. Like literally perfect. I know everyone says that, especially in the beginning, but it was true. I was still working through my last breakup but he was kind and supportive and patient. There was one time I was supposed to go out with Will but my ex showed up outside my apartment, drunk, and by the time he left I was so shaken up I didn't want to go out anymore. Will surprised me by coming over anyway with takeout and we just stayed inside for the night, watching corny ghost hunter episodes and playing board games. It was one of the best dates I ever had. It wasnt long before we became inseparable, which wasnt surprising because I tend to be a homebody. I didnt really have many friends. I tend to keep everyone at arms length. So naturally when we started dating, I mostly just hung out with Will. When I did finally introduce him to my family, they loved him. My dad tried to put on this tough guy facade, but later after we left, my mom told me he wouldnt stop talking about how great he thought Will was. And when I did introduce him to some friends, they loved him too. So it's kind of surprising that he's acting the way he is now. Lately he seems… different. He looks so tired all the time, and I think he hasn't been sleeping because he's yelled at me a few times over dumb stuff and he's not usually one to yell. For a little context, Will works in IT, or something techy. He's explained it to me a few times but I'm really not good with technology so I always get lost. I think a lot of his friends are techies too. This will come in later. Like, he went off on me the other day because I dont have a password on my phone. He said any psycho could pick it up and install a tracker on it and follow me. I was dumbfounded. I asked him who would even do that, and how would they even get my phone if it was with me all the time. He just mumbled something and stormed out, slamming the door behind him. I guess hes right. I really should have a password on my phone. Its usually never more than an arms reach away, but you never know what could happen. Will was usually so levelheaded and practical, this kind of paranoia was out of character for him. And then last week I didn't come home right away from work and he blew up at me. Kept saying that I should have been home sooner, where was I, who was I with. Then he said he wanted to install a 2 way GPS tracker on my phone, so we would always know where each other was. I was totally appalled, and honestly a little scared with the way he was acting, I just let him install it. He left pretty quickly after that. Hes been going out a lot lately. I dont know where he goes, but sometimes he goes out and he's gone for hours. He never says where he's going either, just mumbles something and then leaves in a hurry. I guess the late nights are starting to get But I guess the last straw is my friends. When we first started dating, Will was eager to meet my friends. He joked it was important for us to have other people so we didnt get sick of each other. I think he just felt bad because he would come home after being out with his friends, to find me on the couch watching TV or knitting. Im sure a lot of people would think its kind of pathetic, me waiting for him to come home like that. But I really didnt mind. Last Saturday, my best friends Megan and Rachel dropped by. We all met in college, even rented an apartment together after college. I moved to my current apartment to be closer to work and my family, but they stayed behind and still live together. Theyre only a couple towns over, but you know how it goes. You get caught up in work, weekends start to be the only time you can relax, you get busy, you start seeing someone, your friends kind of fall to the sidelines. None of us took it personally. We all know it happens, and theyve even had their own stuff going on. We stay up to date with each other on social media, but its just not the same as seeing your friends and catching up in person. So when they said they were in town shopping, I jumped at the chance to have them over for dinner. Will was working late that night anyway. I ordered takeout and cracked open a bottle of wine, and we spent the night gossiping and watching bad reality TV. We were a few bottles in when Will just barged in. He stopped short when he saw them. I could see his entire mood change, but he recovered quickly. He gave a small smile, said hello, made some excuse about needing to get some work done, and locked himself in his office. He was polite enough, but I know him well enough to know when he's super pissed. I noticed Megan and Rachel gave each other a weird look, but I just brushed it off. Later, they said they think he was just mad I was hanging out with someone who wasnt him. After they left, we got in a huge fight. Will was furious, and Ill admit I was pretty heated, but I think the amount of wine Id had was a contributing factor on my end. I had no idea what his problem was all of a sudden. He was the one who was always pushing me to hang out with people, make new friends, stop spending my nights waiting for him to get home. Then Will started telling me I shouldn't hang out with Megan and Rachel. He said they're not good people, I dont know what theyve been up to. He barely knew them! Hed met them a few times and theyd all gotten along just fine then, so what was so different now? I tried to ask him what he was talking about, but he wouldnt say. Honestly, the way he was acting had me a little scared. Then he told me he didnt want me to see them at all anymore. It was so unlike him, I was taken aback. I didn't know what to say to him. He just kept saying they're not good people. Sure, they can be a little bitchy, but who isn't? And its not like he can tell me what to do or order me around. Im not a little kid and hes not in charge of me. Sidenote, I've never met any of his friends. Every time I ask or suggest having a little get-together, he just brushes it off and says they're tech nerds who don't do well with other people. He says girls make them nervous. It all sounds like bullshit to me. I tried adding some of them on Facebook, but they never responded to my request. I didnt know what else to do, so I went online. Because of course, the best thing to do when youre upset is to go on the internet. Just like when youre not feeling well, the best way to handle it is to check the internet, and then the next thing you know, you think youve got cancer and you better go see your doctor immediately. I read some similar stories from other women, and even some men too. It starts out like a fairytale, the relationship is perfect, everything is great until the couple starts to settle in and then their true colors come out. A lot of other peoples stories suggested Wills behavior was abusive. Maybe I was in denial, but that didn't seem like the right word to describe it. He never hit me or anything, but yeah, I guess he did yell at me a lot more now. There were a few times when I still got butterflies about him coming home, but maybe I just read it wrong. Maybe it was anxiety. The internet said the way he's acting now, not letting me see my friends, is a huge red flag. They tossed around a lot of words like "isolating" and "grooming" and "manipulative. I'll admit, I was wary when he came home the next night. As soon as he walked in the door, I was on edge. I felt like I was just sitting there, waiting for another outburst. I also felt a little guilty and ashamed for thinking Will could be abusive. But they said the way I was feeling was because of the abuse too. I just don't know anymore. He seems totally normal, totally fine, almost seems like his old self. But I feel tense whenever Im around him... It's starting to exhaust me. As soon as he enters the room or I get a text from him, my heart skips a beat and I get a surge of adrenaline. They said that might be "fight or flight. Or maybe these people on the internet are just full of crap. So, I decided to do something about it. A couple days ago Will went out in the middle of the night. I'm pretty sure he thought I was asleep, but I waited a couple seconds and followed him. It was cold outside, being that we're in the middle of winter, but surprisingly, Will didn't take his car. Walking made following him easier, but I knew it wouldn't be long until I was freezing. I followed Will into town. I've never followed someone before but I made sure to stay a ways back, like in TV shows. The more I followed him, the more I felt like something wasn't right. Maybe it was drugs? Drugs would explain the change in his behavior, the paranoia, the sudden outbursts. Maybe I was following Will to a drug deal? But it wasn't a drug deal. I followed him to one of the "clubs" in town. It's not really a club. I think theyre trying to get a club off the ground here but this really just isnt a party town. There aren't enough people here anyway to have a club, but they were certainly trying to draw in an underground, party type of crowd. It was way out of place. As I was following Will, a pretty big crowd spilled into the street from the "club. I lost sight of him and I immediately felt panic set in. Was this like a scene in all the movies where I lost the person I was tailing, only to have him come up behind me, startle me, and confront me for following him? Then I remembered the tracker. He said it was two-way. I'm pretty sure he only did that to make me feel better about it, like he wasnt using it to watch me. I dont think he ever counted on me actually using it against him. The tracker showed he was a couple blocks over, circling towards the back of the club. I waited until the app showed the coast was clear and then I picked up his trail again. It wasnt long before he was a few yards in front of me again. I followed him to the alley that ran behind the club. Ducking down behind a dumpster, I positioned myself so I could see a little around the corner of it, but also hear whatever he said pretty clearly. “Are you following us? ” I clamped a hand over my mouth just in time to stifle a gasp. I recognized that voice. A quick peek around the dumpster confirmed it. Will was talking to Megan and Rachel. A million questions immediately swirled around my head. Why were they here? Why was he meeting them? What was the real reason he didnt want me to see them? “You need to leave Emma alone. ” Wills voice was colder than Id ever heard it before. If I wasnt watching him, I wouldnt have even known it was Will who was talking. They laughed and echoed what he had said in a mocking tone. Come to think of it, I wasnt sure Id ever heard my friends be this catty either. What was going on? “Does Emma even know where you are? ” Rachel sneered at him. “Yeah, where does Emma think you are right now? ” Megan chimed in... I retreated back behind my hiding place, appalled. Id never heard my friends talk to someone like this. Something about this wasnt right. Had Will been right about them the whole time? “Just leave her alone and we wont have a problem, ” he said. I could tell he was talking through gritted teeth. They just laughed at him, but the longer they laughed, the deeper their voices got. I leaned out from behind the dumpster again to see what was going on. Dim alley lighting made it difficult to see what was happening, but the scene before me turned my blood to ice. Their necks grew longer and longer, their heads now leering down at Will. Their hands stretched and there was a snapping noise as their fingers became sharp, pointed claws. Their faces contorted and pulled until Megans nose became some sort of snout, complete with gnashing fangs. Rachels face changed into some sort of beak. The light glinted off her razor-like teeth. Under my winter coat, goosebumps crawled across my skin as I watched their eyes turn black. I let out a gasp as a horrible stench filled the air. Suddenly, time stood still. Slowly, they all turned to look at the source of the noise. Frozen with fear, I watched as dread filled Wills eyes. Megan and Rachel both had a sinister look in their dead eyes, as thick saliva dripped down their teeth and started to pool at their feet. “Go! ” Wills voice cut through the night like a hot blade. My heart jackhammering, I scrambled to my feet and raced for the mouth of the alley. As I turned the corner, I looked back at Will. He had a determined look in his eye as the creatures in front of him started to growl. He was doing his best to hold them back, and the longer I stayed, the more difficult it was for him. Im ashamed to say I didnt wait to see what happened. Im sick with guilt that I didnt do more. I just ran. I ran all the way home, and when I got there I locked the door and waited for Will to come home. But he still hasnt come home. Ive been sitting here all night, too afraid to sleep. I tried calling him, Ive been calling him every hour, but it just goes to voicemail. Ive messaged one of his friends, but he hasnt answered yet either. Its morning now. Ill call the police if I dont hear from him soon.
Home News The face of the new Apple Watch, made of highly polished sapphire. (Image: Apple livestream, screengrab) A Massachusetts teen says the Apple Watch saved his life, by alerting him that his heart rate was much higher than normal, leading to a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition. Experts say the gadget — and similar devices — could potentially detect alterations in people's heart rates that might be a sign of health problems. Paul Houle Jr., a high school senior, said he felt back pain after two football practices on the same day, but he didn't think much of it, according to Huffington Post. However, he later noticed his Apple Watch revealed that his heart rate was 145 beats per minute — about double his normal rate. Although he thought the watch might be broken, Houle told his athletic trainer, and after an exam, was taken to the emergency room. Houle was later diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscles release a protein that damages the kidneys and other organs, and can cause a rapid heart rate. Houle had suffered damage to his kidneys, heart and liver. "Doctors told me that if I had not said anything and [had] gone to practice the next day, I very easily could have died. Houle told the Huffington Post. What Is a Normal Heart Rate. It's important to note that the Apple Watch is not a medical device, and cannot be used to diagnose heart conditions. But because the device monitors heart rate, it could potentially alert people to a health problem that should be evaluated, said Dr. Allen Taylor, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D. C. "Heart rate is a general signal for how much stress your body's under. Taylor said. The stress could be due to exercise, mental stress or an illness, he said. Like a fever, a high heart rate could be a symptom of many conditions, and so it cannot be used for a diagnosis by itself, Taylor said. But "For certain conditions, if] patients find their heart rates running faster, it could alert them to say 'something's not right here. Taylor said. Other conditions that might be detected by a heart rate monitor include: Atrial fibrillation, or an erratic heartbeat, might be detected by a heart rate monitor, Taylor said. An episode of erratic heartbeat can last for seconds, minutes or days, and the symptom isn't always present when a patient goes to the doctor. That's why self-detection of the condition can be important, Taylor said. Anemia, or a low red blood cell count. This condition can cause problems with the heart's electrical impulses and lead to a faster-than-normal heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Overactive thyroid. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, this can also interfere with the heart's electrical activity and lead to a fast heart rate, even one of more than 100 beats per minute, the Mayo Clinic says. A heart rate monitor might also be useful for patients who are taking medications to prevent a rapid or erratic heart rate, so that doctors could see if the medications are working, Taylor said. Dr. Ragavendra Baliga, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, noted that a new app for the Apple Watch, called AirStrip, can allow doctors to view patients' vital signs, including their heart rates. For people with heart failure, which can cause a rapid heart rate, doctors could use AirStrip to make adjustments to the patient's medications, Baliga said. However, it's also possible that some patients might be overly assured by monitoring their heart rates, and believe that nothing is wrong if they have a normal heart rate, Taylor said. "A normal heart rate doesn't mean you're not sick. Taylor said. For example, a heart rate monitor can't detect if you're having a heart attack. Still, overall, wearables have the potential to empower patients to think about their health in news ways, Taylor said. "Whether it's detecting conditions early, or whether it's monitoring conditions, or whether it's just having grater self-awareness of their health …There're so many potential advantages" to wearables, he said. Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google. Original article on Live Science.
Before my heart falls watch full. Before my heart falls watch free. Here we are, together And everything between us is good I'm right here in this cloud, baby Ready to fly but before I take Another step Would you catch me if I fall for you? Cause I'M FALLING I'M FALLING, I'M FALLING I'm so used to standing So used to being on my own But this thing is new, baby It feels like I'm losing control I'll take another step If you catch me when I fall for you I'M FALLING, I'M FALLING Will you promise to be there? Stay by my side always? Whenever I need you Don't let me down, no, no If I give you my all, don't let me fall Would you do that for me, hold me? Will you love, will you love me? My heart is ready For love and to be loved And I chose you, baby That's the one thing I'm sure of So I will take this one last step So catch me, I'm falling for you I'M FALLING I'M FALLING, I'M FALLING I'm falling I'm falling, I'm falling I'm falling, I'm falling.
Helping your patients identify early warning signs. Apple Watch has powerful apps that make it the ultimate device for a healthy life. Now with new notifications and the ECG app, it can provide you and your patients with important information concerning their heart health. Heart rate notifications. Apple Watch checks for unusually high or low heart rates in the background, which could be signs of a serious underlying condition. This could help you and your patients identify situations which may warrant further evaluation. If a patients heart rate is above 120 bpm or below 40 bpm while they appear to have been inactive for 10 minutes, the user will receive a notification. Patients can adjust the threshold bpm or turn these notifications on or off. All heart rate notifications — along with date, time, and heart rate — can be viewed in the Health app on iPhone. Learn more about heart rate notifications Irregular rhythm notifications. The irregular rhythm notification occasionally checks for signs of irregular rhythms that may be suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib. This feature wont detect all instances of AFib but may catch something that can provide your patients with an early indication that further evaluation may be warranted. Irregular rhythm notifications use the optical heart sensor to detect the pulse wave at the wrist and look for variability in beat‑to‑beat intervals when the user is at rest. If the algorithm repeatedly detects an irregular rhythm suggestive of AFib, your patient will receive a notification and the date, time, and beat‑to‑beat heart rate will be recorded in the Health app. The irregular rhythm notification feature has been granted De Novo classification by the FDA for users 22 years and older in the U. S. with no prior history of AFib. Learn more about irregular rhythm notifications Validation of irregular rhythm notification feature. In 2017 and 2018, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine worked with Apple to conduct the Apple Heart Study on the detection of atrial fibrillation, a heartbeat irregularity that is a leading cause of stroke and hospitalization. Over 400, 000 Apple Watch users participated and helped validate the ability of wearable technology to aid in the early detection of this condition, which often goes undiagnosed. And the study led to the availability of the irregular rhythm notification that is now on Apple Watch. See the results of the Apple Heart Study ECG app. With the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later, patients who experience symptoms such as rapid or skipped heartbeat, or receive the irregular rhythm notification, can capture an ECG and record their symptoms. This real world data can enable you to make more informed and timely decisions regarding further evaluation and care. The ECG app uses the electrical heart sensor built into the Digital Crown and the back crystal of Apple Watch Series 4 or later to record a single lead ECG similar to a Lead I ECG. The ECG app then provides a result of sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, or inconclusive, and prompts the user to enter any symptoms such as rapid or pounding heartbeat, dizziness, or fatigue. The waveform, results, date, time, and any symptoms are recorded and can be exported from the Health app as a PDF to share with a clinician. If the patient notes symptoms that indicate a serious condition, they are prompted to immediately call emergency services. The ECG app has been granted De Novo classification by the FDA for users 22 years and older in the U. S. Learn more about the ECG app How the ECG app works. 1. Launch the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later. 2. Rest your arms on a table or in your lap, and hold your index finger on the Digital Crown for about 30 seconds. 3. Review rhythm classification and record symptoms. 4. View and export ECG waveform, rhythm classification, date and time of recording, and any reported symptoms in the Health app on iPhone. 5. Allow clinicians to view a snapshot of findings as a PDF. Understanding the ECG app findings. The ECG app waveform is similar to a Lead I ECG, which can enable classification of atrial fibrillation and sinus rhythm, but cannot identify other conditions, like heart attacks. After taking an ECG reading, the ECG app will check for sinus rhythm or AFib. If the heart rate is under 50 bpm or over 120 bpm, the app is unable to check for AFib, but will note the heart rate and save the ECG recording. The ECG app may provide an inconclusive result if, for example, there is poor signal due to motion artifacts or poor electrode contact, the heart rate is between 100 and 120 bpm, or for other reasons such as presence of arrhythmias other than AFib, presence of an ICD or pacemaker, or poor electrical signal in the recording which can occur as a result of right axis deviation. In a clinical study, the rhythm classification by the ECG app of a single lead ECG on Apple Watch was compared to the rhythm classification by a cardiologist of a simultaneously collected 12-lead ECG. The ECG app demonstrated 99. 6% specificity in classifying sinus rhythm and 98. 3% sensitivity in classifying AFib for the classifiable results. In this study, 12. 2% of recordings were not classifiable. Learn more about arrhythmia detection (PDF) This can be an addition to our growing armamentarium to identify AFib, which can be intermittent and asymptomatic. Dr. Richard Milani Professor of Medicine, Vice-Chairman for Cardiovascular Diseases, Ochsner Health System Products that seek to provide deeper health insights, like the Apple Watch, have the potential to be significant in new clinical care models and shared decision making between people and their healthcare providers. Dr. Ivor Benjamin President of the American Heart Association Apple is democratizing healthcare, providing on‑demand access to accurate sensors and software that can help consumers develop real healthcare literacy and inform how daily choices impact their health. Dr. Leslie A. Saxon Professor of Medicine, Clinical Scholar, Keck School of Medicine, USC Compare Apple Watch Models High Heart Rate Notification Low Heart Rate Notification Irregular Rhythm Notification ECG App Fall Detection Sensors Optical heart sensor / PPG Electrical heart sensor / electrodes Next generation accelerometer and gyroscope Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3 Apple Watch Series 4 or later *Note: Original Apple Watch does not support these functions Fall Detection. When a hard fall is detected with Apple Watch Series 4 or later, an alert appears and allows the user to easily call emergency services or dismiss the alert. If the user is unresponsive for about a minute, an emergency call will be placed automatically and a message will be sent to the users emergency contacts. All falls detected are recorded in the Health app. This feature is automatically enabled for users 65 years and older and can be turned on for anyone in the Apple Watch app on iPhone. Learn more about Fall Detection Medical ID. Medical ID allows first responders and emergency room clinicians to access critical medical information from a patients iPhone lock screen or Apple Watch without requiring a passcode, and without compromising patient privacy. Patients can list important information such as allergies, medications, conditions, organ donor preferences, and emergency contacts by setting up Medical ID in the Health app on iPhone. Learn more about accessing Medical ID on Apple Watch Health Records on iPhone. The Health app on iPhone makes it easier than ever for your patients to visualize and securely store their health records from multiple institutions alongside their patient-generated data, creating a more holistic view of their health. So next time you have a question about your patients medications or past medical history, ask if your patient is aggregating health records in the Health app. Learn more about health records on iPhone Designed with security and privacy in mind. When a users iPhone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID, their health data in the Health app is encrypted on‑device. If a user chooses to sync their health data with iCloud, it is encrypted while in transit and at rest.
Before My Heart Falls watch. Boogeymen are born from normal people; people who have let the evil enter and break their minds. It starts with seemingly innocent bad thoughts. Someone has let their dog poop in your front yard and you half-jokingly wish they were hit by a bus. You newborn son cant get a whole night of sleep. You love him, but you wish just a little bit that he didnt exist. You look at your boss, yelling at you for being late and sleep-deprived, and imagine yourself twisting his neck, very, very slowly, until he cannot breathe. You sometimes feel a lack of memory, like some minutes went by and you didnt even notice, or someone had a whole conversation with you that you cant remember, but you blame it to your stress and bad sleeping. Your boss is putting you through a lot this week. Your neighbors dont say good morning to you anymore. Even the overfriendly neighbor is different. He timidly waves at you, but in a colder way. You say something that sounds normal to you when youre mad, but the whole room is looking at you like youre crazy. The water and the food start to taste weird. And the smell. The sulfuric smell will never leave your nostrils anymore, although no one else feels it. Like your very soul is rotten. You go to the doctor and with a shaky voice he asks that you never come back again. He wont tell you what you have, he didnt even charge you. You suspect the smell comes from inside, so theres no amount of baths and lotions that can solve it. You go to churches and temples and synagogues and mosques but no one can help you. No one can find whats wrong. Theres no devil, no vengeful spirit. The poison is in your very being. You realize nothing of it can ever go away again. You only had to feed It once or twice before It learned to feed It self on you. You find yourself in the middle of the night in the living room. You dont remember getting there. Youre fully dressed, covered in sweat and holding a butcher knife in your hand. Theres no blood, but it could have been bloodied moments ago. The next day, you watch and read the local news, praying that none of the vicious actions they describe are yours. You start a diary, because thats what people descending into madness do. They write to document their decay. But when you try to write, you notice you have no control over your hand anymore. You write what It wants, not what you intended to. You know It craves violence, unspeakable acts that make your stomach churn, so you lock yourself. You know youre dangerous and others will be safer without you around. But It controls your every move, so It unlocks all the big padlocks every night. Thats the reason you cant die. Youre not in control of your body anymore. Youre locked outside of yourself. It has taken over. Youre not you anymore. Your friends abandon you, your family despises you... Your eyes hurt and you hate the light. Your fingers are numb, everything is numb, because your body isnt yours anymore. Maybe Humanitys greatest fears of all are Being Forgotten, Being Misunderstood and Powerlessness, and you get to experience all of them at once. What you used to be – the real You – no longer exists in other peoples memories. Your loved ones suppressed every good time they had with you, and replaced any fond recollection of you by fearing what you are now. You must be left behind, because now youre It, and It is evil. You try to explain It is not you, but your body wont obey you. Youre finally kicked out of your shell, and now youre just a disembodied shadow, living under some kids bed. I dont know for sure how I ended up there. Everything was foggy and felt like nothingness. I was a shadow, could only move across the shadows, so I stayed under the bed or in the closet a lot. Despite having lost everything, at least I felt safe for the first time in a while. I have no idea how long it took for me to be noticed. I tried to keep track of the time based on how many times the boy came to sleep above me, but I kept forgetting. I wanted to retain whatever information I could, but a shadow has no memory. So I dont really know. “Is anyone there? ” he asked. I dont know if I had seen him before that day or not, whether he was thin or chubby, or the color of his hair. I just remember thinking that judging by his voice he wasnt older than 8. He noticed me. Amazed by having my existence acknowledge, I tried to talk. To tell him it was lonely and dusty and maddening to be what I was – something next to nothing. I was like a phantom limb of a mind, and even thought it couldnt technically ache, it did. And it was excruciating. I wanted and desperately needed to tell someone about it. Of course I had no vocal chords. Hell, I didnt even have a body, or an entire mind. Everything came out as a terrifying growl, and kids can hear it. The boy screamed for his mom. I cowered in the darkest shadows as she came, sleepy and grumpy, and turned on the light. “I heard something under the bed”, he whimpered. She checked on me. Even though I didnt have eyes, I could somehow see her with my battered half-mind. She was older, probably in her mid-40s. She wasnt mad or unkind, just exhausted. “Theres nothing here, sweetie. Wanna come to my room? Mom is really tired today. ” The boy agreed. I envied him. I wish more than anything that I had comforting arms to fall on and rest. I didnt have a lot of story with this boy, or at least I cant remember. He frightened easily so, no matter how much I wanted to communicate with someone, I refrained from scaring him. I guess Im just bad at everything, including at being a boogeyman. I heard conversation around the house, but for a long time, it was just the boy and his mother. I rarely ventured outside the bedroom, afraid there wouldnt be enough shadows for me to come back before morning. I was completely sure that I was going to disappear if I stepped (and I use this word very loosely) into the light. And even though everything was so bad I wanted to exist, so I was afraid and cautious. The house was too big for only two people. I eventually learned that the mother had an older daughter – she apparently was in college and was the most frequent visitor. The daughter was a joyous young woman, I really liked when she was around. I wish she was younger so she could hear me. She felt like she could bear to listen to my awful cries and not be scared, even when she was small. As the boy aged, I understood that he couldnt hear me anymore. So sometimes I would talk aloud and make those awful noises just because I could. Just to remember myself that I was still clinging to existence. The zenith of my life with the boy was when I learned that I could manipulate objects to some extent if I really focused, right before he decided to move to the larger bedroom his sister used to occupy. He was a pre-teen by that time, and I heard him pacing around the room looking for something. I didnt really understand what it was, but it was some sort of memento of his late father. It was important. Then I saw – once again, I use this term very loosely – something shinny close to me, under the bed. It was a reliquary, one of those you wear around your neck. I really wished that I could give it to him in that moment. Really, really wished. Then it happened. Slowly but surely, the thing moved. The boy sounded so relieved and happy when he finally found it with my happy. I felt accomplished for the first time in my life as a boogeyman. The next few years are a blurry of waiting and lurking around cautiously now. We boogeymen can only move on shadows, but we cant squeeze through the cracks of windows or under doors. If Im being scientific, were more like a slime made of shadow. Thats why, no matter how much I considered relocating to another house and trying to talk to other children, it wasnt easy. I was stuck with a teenager and a middle-aged woman who couldnt hear me. Then the boy went to college too and it was only me and the mother for a while. Not even the older daughter would come. It was boring and lonely. After making a painstaking effort to remember, I finally recalled the daughter and the mother having a huge fight over the character of her boyfriend; I just dont know when it was. I was almost making up my mind about going through the risks to find another place when the mother started renovating the bedroom I lived in. the bed above me, now painted white and with pink sheets, was going to have a new occupant. The day the daughter came back was full of tears. She cried, apologizing to her mother, while the older woman kept telling her that there was nothing to worry, and that despite everything, she was really happy. She was now a grandmother. I, too, could barely contain my excitement. Lisbeth, the granddaughter, was a cute little thing; I think she was around 4 when they arrived. She sounded delighted with her new bedroom. Both her mother and grandmother put her to bed that night. She asked to sleep with all the lights turned off like a big girl. Chuckling, they complied, and closed the door, in total darkness. Of course the two adults had a lot of talk after all these – I suppose – years. “Hey, little monster! I know youre in there. Im not afraid of you”, she stated. If I could smile, thats what I would have done. But I didnt say anything; I was unsure whether she really felt my presence or just assumed there would be a monster. This was an opportunity too precious to be ruined. I didnt want to scare her off on the first day and lose her company. “Seriously, little monster! Knock if youre in there! ” I made whatever sound I could. She laughed in delight. After that, we developed our system to communicate. I would make one noise for yes and two noises for no. Lisbeth asked me all sorts of things. Silly things, from her little kid universe, like if I thought her doll was pretty, or if she should wear blue socks instead of white. Things about her family – if I knew her uncle who lived in this room before, if her mother was beautiful, if I could go to her dads house and hunt him. I replied everything, overjoyed to feel important and heard. “Do you have big, scary eyes? ” No. “Do you have nice eyes, then? ” No. “Are you eyeless? ” Yes. “Oooh, thats scary! But not for me. Dont worry, Poggy. ” Yes. And I still dont know why she nicknamed me Poggy. “Do you have hands? ” No. “That must be hard, Poggy. So you have paws? ” No. “Its really hard to imagine you! Can I see you pretty please? I swear I wont tell mom or nana. ” No. “Aw. Are you ashamed? ” No. She was deep in thought for a long time. “Oooh, so are you invisible? ” Yes. “Thats so cool! ” Once again, she was quiet. I thought she was asleep. “Can you move things? ”. After learning that I could move things, Lisbeth came up with more ways to communicate. She would put many small objects (little balls, a Barbie shoe etc. under the bed, and depending on what I moved I could answer things like “probably”, “I dont know”, etc. That improved our communication a lot. We talked for hours and hours every day. Despite being limited by her youth, she was a very clever girl. She was able to ask me a chain of questions that led her to conclude that I had been human before. This fact seemed to scare her. She then asked if her mother or grandmother could become boogeymen too. I dont think so, I replied, moving a little replica of a racing car. When she ran out of questions to ask me, she would ask her mom and nana: what do you ask someone when you want to know them better? Luckily, they thought it was cute. They thought I was Lisbeths imaginary friend – and well, I was. I never meant to harm or scare her. “Ask their profession and if they have kids”, her mother replied. Lisbeth came back happily, and for a long time, she tried to guess what I worked with. Fireman? Policeman? Teacher? Scientist? Astronaut? Doctor? Lawyer? Nurse? Actor? The person who gives you a Happy Meal in the mall? Gardener? Cleaning lady? Lunch lady? To all of them, I replied no. she wasnt disappointed, though, just more fired up. I was a mere office worker, something kids never think of because its not glamorous or close to their reality. “Mom, tell me a profession! ” “Uh, teacher. ” “No, I already asked if Poggy is a teacher! ” When Lisbeth asked “secretary” I finally said yes. Close enough. “Do you have kids? ” Yes. “Are they like you? ” No. “Do you love them? ” Yes. “And they love you? ” I dont know. “Sorry, Poggy. Youre my friend and I love you! ”. I think I spent a year or so with Lisbeth. She healed my soul, if I had a soul to heal. No one had ever been that kind to me. I know its my fault that I let It in and corrupt my very being. But I felt that if I had been treated so well before I would have never allowed it to happen. For the people in the house, life went on. Lisbeths mother started dating another guy, someone the grandmother adored, so he was always there. The place was lively. It almost felt like we were all one big happy family. I didnt exact sleep, but I had some sort of dormancy period daily. I was abruptly awakened with the sound of someone entering the bedroom; I think it was from the window. A tall figure violently took Lisbeth from her bed, making her whimper, still in her sleep. It then moved to another room, Lisbeth in their arms, not turning on the lights. Distressed, I followed. We entered the third bedroom, and I immediately moved to under the bed. “You fucking b*tch! ” the person barked, turning on the lights. Lisbeths mother and her boyfriend were jerked awake. “Luke! For Christs sake, what youre doing? ” “Dad! ” Both sounded incredibly scared. Lisbeth had told me a lot about her father. Even in her childish words, I was able to imagine a world of pain and fear. Lisbeths mother put up with a lot of verbal and physical violence, ashamed to admit that her marriage was a huge mistake. I heard Dad screaming to Mom a lot and breaking things, but he was nice to me. He told me she had been naughty so he had to ground her. I believed him at first, but Mom wasnt naughty. She was good. She brought me here the day Dad hurt me and told me he never let her talk to my nana before. Lisbeths mother sobbed. Luke was pointing a gun to his own daughters head. “How dare you sleep with another man, you fucking tramp! Youre my wife, Ill never give you up”, he yelled. “Were coming back home now. ” Lisbeths mother started moving meekly towards him, crestfallen and humiliated. Her boyfriend motioned to stop her, but Luke spoke again. “Come on, you horny b*tch! Youll either obey your husband and be punished for your unfaithfulness or your life will be a living hell knowing that your daughter died because of you! ” “Dad! Please! It hurts! ” Lisbeth pleaded, the metal barrel glued to her little forehead. My heart ached. Everyone was so scared, the room was so bright. Id try to help anyone in that situation. Anyone. But the sweet little girl who made me feel someone again, who healed me, who gave me hope and reason to exist? You can bet Id give everything to save her, including what little of me still hadnt evaporated. So I wished with all my might that I moved the gun. And my non-body, the slime of darkness that I was, jumped towards the light. It felt like I was a sieve, with light perforating every pore that I didnt have. It hurt. It hurt but it also felt liberating, like I had finally atoned for my sins and was free, choosing to sacrifice happily for something that was worth all that I had. I was fast, a flash of dark in the light. I was able to move the pistol from his hand, causing it to pirouette e hit him in the head with the butt of the gun. Before disappearing I saw his body starting to fall unconscious, almost in slow-motion, and I heard Lisbeths frenetic voice. “Poggy saved us! ”. I abruptly woke up back in my own body, like when you dream of falling. It was gone, or at least I couldnt hear Its malicious thoughts anymore. I tried moving my hands. Slowly, finger by finger, everything worked. I laughed with joy. I almost couldnt believe my luck. I thought I was gone forever. I opened my eyes and saw my husband by my side. I smiled happily, opening my arms to hug him. Instead he looked scared and twitched, moving to the farther side of the bed. “Im so, so sorry. Did I snort? I should sleep in the guests room, but you insist…” “Babe, its fine. Its me”, I tried to explain, with the softest voice I could. But his eyes were full of panic. He was so washed-out, pale, thin and with swollen eyes, like he spent most of his life crying. He probably did, considering what It kept talking about doing. And he looked old. Really, really old. I was ready to dismiss everything as some sort of drug-induced dream, but clearly years had passed – based on Lisbeths uncle, at least a decade. I instinctively looked at the corner of our room where the crib of our newborn used to be, but there was nothing. The room was arranged somewhat differently too. “Where are the kids? ” I asked. Still looking terrified, he guided me to their rooms. “Please dont be so harsh, Rachel. I know they didnt mean to say your cooking was bad”, he begged me. My newborn was now a handsome 12-years-old little man. I cried as I hugged him for the first time in so long. Being a boogeyman was so scary. But nothing is scarier than being back and having to pick up the pieces that It left. Nothing is scarier than knowing how hard it will be to be trusted and loved again. Still, Im grateful Im here. I want to spend the rest of my days redeeming myself with the ones I love for everything It did through my body while I was almost too far gone in a dark, dark place.
Before My Heart Falls watches. Chuck La Tournous has a scary story with a happy ending. Whew. Susie Ochs Today's Best Tech Deals Picked by Macworld's Editors Top Deals On Great Products Picked by Techconnect's Editors Ill begin this story the same way I began the phone call to my wife: “Im OK, but…” The “but” began on a Tuesday morning, after I started walking from the parking lot to the front door of my office building. I began feeling short of breath. No matter how deeply I inhaled, it felt like my lungs werent filling up completely. At first, the feeling just seemed odd—nothing serious, just…weird. By the time I climbed the flight of stairs to my floor, the feeling had grown worse. Along with the shortness of breath, I could feel my heart racing in my chest. Stopping to talk to a colleague on the way to my office, the mere act of speaking left me practically gasping for air. I cut the conversation short and continued to my office. Sitting still made me feel better, but not great. It was then I thought about the heart rate sensor on my Apple Watch. I opened the Heart Rate app, curious to see if my heart rate was actually elevated or if it was just my imagination. It read 118 beats per minute. Definitely not my imagination—my normal resting heart rate is in the low 70s. As I sat at my desk that morning, I frequently checked my heart rate with my watch. No matter how long I was at rest, it never dipped below 100 beats per minute. Still, I kept trying to convince myself it was something that would just pass. I had too much to do, lots of work to finish, and I was scheduled to leave that afternoon on a 780-mile drive with my family to celebrate my daughters graduation from her Masters program. It was a trip Id been looking forward to for months—and I wasnt about to let a little shortness of breath mess it up. Stairway to Heaven By lunchtime, I had made up my mind not to mention anything to my wife and to go ahead with our trip. I was thinking about packing lists and making a mental note not to forget my Apple Watch charger as I walked down the two flights of stairs to the cafeteria. The shortness of breath returned, but I was determined to ignore it. I started to carry my lunch back up the stairs and the gasping returned. The pounding of my heart became so strong I could feel it in my ears. I felt so winded I had to pause on the stairwell—I just didnt have the strength to go on. I raised my Apple Watch again and swiped up to view the heart rate glance. 138 beats per minute. 140. 144. Thats usually my heart rate during a good elliptical workout, and here I was, standing still on a flight of stairs. If not for the Apple Watch, I wouldn't have known what my resting heart rate should have been, or that my elevated heart rate was definitely a cause for concern. In the end, it was that cold, objective number staring at me from my watch that finally got me to believe there was something real going on, something I couldnt just ignore or wish away. Reluctantly, I went to my company nurses office, salad still in hand, and told her what had happened. (It was a story Id repeat to seemingly endless teams of doctors over the next six days. My nurse ran the rest of my vitals, including blood pressure (very high) and an EKG, which she sent to the company doctor on call. Although she never said it outright, Im pretty sure she suspected a heart attack. So did the paramedics who came and took me from my office in an ambulance and fed me nitroglycerin. In what was probably not my brightest move of the day, I tried to bargain with them to let me drive myself to the hospital, and when that failed, insisted on walking to the ambulance instead of being wheeled out on a stretcher. The leg bones connected to the… The rest of the story is fairly straightforward. It wasnt a heart attack after all – in fact, my heart was very strong, which probably saved my life. As it turned out, my leg was throwing out blood clots— lots of clots, I learned. Those clots were traveling up to my lung, where they were blocking the arteries to my heart. One became whats called a “saddle clot, ” meaning it was wrapped at the fork of two pulmonary arteries, blocking the flow of blood in both. It was that blockage that was making it hard for my heart to move enough oxygenated blood to keep my body going. Thats what was causing both my shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. In the upcoming watchOS 3, I'll be able to hold down the side button to engage the SOS feature, which can call 911 for me if I ever have another medical emergency. What confounded the doctors is that I didnt have any of the usual triggers for blood clots: I had no recent trauma, no recent prolonged airplane travel, and no family history of blood clots. My job is fairly sedentary, but not unusually so, and my commute is long, but not long enough to convince the doctors it was a contributing cause. A blood test would later reveal that I have “Factor V Leiden, ” a genetic condition in which 5 percent of those age 50 and older who have it develop clots. I also later learned that a grandfather who I thought died of a heart attack actually died from a cardiac embolism, a blood clot that reached his heart. If I hadnt gone to the nurse when I did, I might have shared his fate. My blood is now kept therapeutic—or “non-clotty, ” as I like to think of it—by a blood thinner that Ill most likely have to take for the rest of my life. Thats a small price to pay for remaining upright. But even more, its given me a big incentive to stay on top of my health, and in this age of technology, there are a lot of things that make that easy to do. For me, the key metrics to watch are my blood pressure, my heart rate, and my “pulse ox”—the amount of oxygen present in my blood. The amazing health team that cared for me in the hospital did that using very expensive technology that they wheeled into my room every couple of hours. I get those same tests when I go for follow-up visits to my doctors, but I wanted to stay on top of my numbers in between visits too. We can rebuild him. We have the technology I looked into the available options and ultimately chose two pieces of equipment. The first is Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor. Like a conventional cuff, it wraps around my arm and inflates to measure my blood pressure. Withings' monitor is easy to use and I love that it supports HealthKit to send all my data to the Health app. Unlike conventional monitors, its operated through an iPhone app and is completely wireless, requiring no stethoscope or other cables. Just press a button on the tubular device attached to the cuff and an app automatically launches, controls the measurement, and delivers your results. To ensure consistent results, you can set the cuff to take three consecutive measurements. All results are stored in the Withings app, so you can see trends over time, and the information can be shared with Apples Health app if you want. The other device is the MocaHeart, a small, flat, rounded rectangular device about the size of a stick of gum. It measures your heart rate (yes, your Apple Watch already does that) but more impressively, it measures your pulse oxygen level. And again, it keeps track of historical data so you can view trends over time, and it shares data (with your permission) with the Health app. The MocaHeart is a small device you hold in your hands to get readings, including blood oxygen levels. Having gotten the chance to compare these consumer-level devices against hospital equipment (not an experience Id recommend) Im blown away by the accuracy of both the Apple Watch heart rate monitor, Withings blood pressure cuff, and the MocaHeart. And its been incredibly reassuring to have such immediate and easy access to vital health information. Armed with this information, I can make on-the-fly adjustments to the things that impact my health. And although my weight and overall fitness werent contributing factors to my health scare, my experience has made me much more aware of the things that influence my health. I keep a much closer eye on the Activity Rings that my watch reports on every day, and Ive been keeping a more active lifestyle. That includes things like exercising—and tracking that exercise—on a treadmill and elliptical, and getting out more on my kayak and my bike (a “thanks for not dying” present from my wife. Im a Believer Did the Apple Watch really save my life? Im convinced it did. Without it, I believe I would have found a way to rationalize my symptoms. I believe I never would have gone to the nurse. And I believe I would have gone on—or at least started—that 780-mile road trip that afternoon. I dont know for sure what I would have subjected my wife to on that long drive, far away from home, but I shudder to think of what she might have had to deal with. But because I saw the cold, objective, incontrovertible data my Apple Watch showed me, I made a different decision. I chose a different path. And that, as Robert Frost might say, made all the difference. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
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Before My Heart Falls watch tv. Before my heart falls watch online. “Did you know that early astronomers thought there were oceans on the moon? ” I asked, looking up from my book. My mom shifted in her bed, a tangle of IV tubes shifting with her. “Of course. The moon seems like the perfect place to find an ocean. ” “What a shame we never found water then, ” I said. “Because those false seas, astronomers called them ‘maria. ” Mom smiled. “How sweet of them to name the moon oceans after me. ” “Well, they didnt find any oceans, ” I reminded her. “Maybe they just didnt look hard enough, ” she replied, a little laugh slipping from her lips. For all of the pain she was in, all of the fear she must feel, my mother always had the kind of laugh that could light a candle. We were in her hospital room, the same one wed been in and out of for the last year and a half. Sometimes we had a roommate, sometimes we were alone. Always she held steady enough for both of us, the rock I tied my hope to, the wall against the grief I knew was coming. Cancer is such a mundane word for something so hungry and cruel. Ive noticed medicine does that a lot, covers horror with tedious language like a bed sheet over a body. Malignant. Inoperable. Metastasized. Terminal. But when she she laughed we werent in the hospital anymore, we were home. When she laughed, she wasnt sick, she was young again, and I was a kid, and the world was a bright place begging to be explored. What a miracle my mother was. Cancer had taken so much from her, aged and hurt her, but it could never steal her laugh. That was hers to keep. “How are we feeling today? ” the doctor asked. He came in less and less often. We could all sense this was the final stay in this room. “Just brilliant, doc, ” my mom said, struggling to sit a little higher. “We can still go dancing later if youd like. Though well have to ask for my sons blessing. Ever since his dad died, Brians been very protective of me. ” I put on a stern face. “Ill need to know your intentions are pure, Dr. Bradshaw. ” “As the driven snow, ” he played along. “But I might need a raincheck on the dance, Ms. Willen. Im not as young as I used to be. ” He emphasized his age, running his fingers through grey-white hair. My mom tapped her bare scalp. “Right there with you, tiger, ” she said. Dr. Bradshaw smiled but I could tell he was burdened. I saw him glance at the small idol Id placed on my mothers nightstand. The talisman was a miniature oak tree carved from gray soapstone. There were four faces etched into the tree, a sentry against ill health and bitter spirits. I could tell the stone tree made the doctor uncomfortable. In all honesty, I had a tough time looking at the idol for more than a few seconds. The faces were each whittled in vivid expression. The face closest to my mothers bed was smiling kindly and the face pointed towards the door was snarling, meant to ward away harm. The final two faces were both weeping. All four shapes were too human, too raw. There was a weirdness to the stone tree that put people on edge but Id grown used to every shade of weird you can imagine. My mothers side of the family was full of stories of unexplained luck and mysterious tragedy, whispered secrets and unexplained deaths. By all accounts, my maternal grandmother was either an honest-to-goodness witch or full-bore, high-caliber crazy, or both. Probably both. The stone tree was from a box of my grandmothers things Id found in the attic earlier that month. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but my mom did seem to get a bit better when Id brought in the talisman, at least for a little while. I was daydreaming about family history and the odd box while Dr. Bradshaw checked his charts and moms vitals. “Can I talk to you for a moment? ” he asked, ripping me back to reality. Bradshaw tried to keep a light tone but I could tell he didnt have good news. The hospital hallway smelled like ammonia and birthday cake. Someone must have had a party, maybe a patient, maybe a nurse. Strange how you remember the insignificant details while your world is crashing down around you. “Im so sorry, ” Dr. Bradshaw told me. “The results came in this morning. Its spreading aggressively. held it back as long as we could, Brian. Your mom is a fighter. But right now we just need to, well, to try to keep her as comfortable as we can. Brian? ” The wall was cracking, grief waiting on the other side, heavy and cold as an empty house. Id known for months that this was the most likely outcome but it still hurt to hear. Hurt worse than I could stomach. “Theres nothing left to try? ” I asked, fighting down the urge to throw up. “Anything, experimental, untested, anything? ” Dr. Bradshaw shook his head. “Im sorry. Sometimes we just run out of options. She fought a good fight. ” “How long does she have left? ” I asked, looking back into her room. Shed fallen asleep. “Not long. Maybe days. Have you considered hospice? ” The smell of ammonia and birthday cake. The steady beep of moms heart monitor. I tried to focus on the world around me. My hope wasnt dead yet. If medicine couldnt help my mom, maybe something older could. I thought of the box of my grandmothers things waiting in the attic. There was a lot in there I hadnt gone through yet, books and candles and secrets and lost things. Maybe there was a cure or at least a way to keep the fight going. “No, ” I said. “If all thats left is to make her comfortable, I want to take her home. ” The doctor smiled. “I understand. We can give you some medication, ways to help her with the pain. ” He put his hand on my shoulder. “Your moms been in a lot of pain but shell have peace, soon. Youve done all you can. ” “I know, ” I lied. “Thank you. ” Mom lived in a small ranch house ten miles outside of town. There wasnt much in the way of neighbors besides some woods and a creek slithering through her yard. It was a windy, warm March afternoon when I took my dying mother home. That night I began my work. I was going to turn the house into a bunker, a maze Death could never solve. I would keep my mother safe, I would find a way to keep her alive. The little red book was full of ideas. Running water was an obvious place to start. The creek behind the house was barely a trickle but it should provide some coverage to the south side of the property. Salt was next, lining the doorways and window frames, then in an unbroken circle around the entire house. This step was to be repeated daily, the red book stressed, or even multiple times per day. Even a moderate breeze played holy havoc with any salt poured outside so it was always best to trace and retrace every few hours. Water and salt were common defenses against mans oldest enemy and well known. The book offered other, less conventional, advice. It took me nearly a week to finish carving the symbols and signs into the walls, the floors, even the trees on the property. Sometime around noon on the third day, on my back in the crawlspace etching strange marks onto the underside of the floor, it struck me how ridiculous I was acting. There was no proof that any of the information in the little red book was anything other than the delusional ramblings of a bizarre woman Id only met once or twice as a child. For all I knew, the runes meant to ward off Death were actually a grocery list written in Cantonese. But I was desperate, and every time I saw my mother she looked frailer, more fragile. So I continued carving and praying and building layers upon layers of protections to keep Death far away. Making my marks took me all over the property. It was a big yard, nearly three acres that blended gradually into the surrounding forest. I wasnt able to pinpoint the exact boundary where cultivated met nature, the edges simply bled together, but I did my best to create a clean border with lines between the symbols. Id always loved the wildness here, the way you could wander a few hundred yards away from home and feel like youd traveled hundreds of years into the past to somewhere primal. This was the perfect playground for a kid, whether I was out exploring trails or trapping minnows or spending the summer building yet another treehouse, convinced this would be the final one. It never was, I was never satisfied. The house itself, though small, was more than enough room for my mother and me. Dad died when I was seven. I dont remember much about him, just how big he seemed, with a bonfire grin and arms that I thought could hold the whole word. My mom often said I took after my father. I could see it in the old pictures of him, we had the same eyes, green as moss in the summer, and the same fiery shock of red hair, enemy to every comb on the planet. The sicker mom got the more often she called me by my fathers name. I worried when she drifted away like that but a part of me was proud shed mistake me for him. After all of the symbols were carved there were a few steps left in the book to deter Death from visiting. There were dozens of charms and talismans in the bottom of the old box in the attic. I sat up there combing through everything my grandmother left behind, referencing the red book, pushing the tiny charms into tidy piles. None of the idols were larger than my thumb. Some were iron and others were wood, some were heavy, others light. All of them were uncomfortable to look at or touch. The attic was drafty but not nearly enough to explain the cold that burrowed into me as I sorted the charms. Im not particularly tall but the attic felt like it was designed for dolls, beams so low I couldnt even walk bent over. I moved around on my knees, rough floorboards threatening splinters even through my jeans. I could have taken the box downstairs where Id have more room but the idea filled me with a deep unease. It seemed better to leave the box up in the attic, only taking down objects as I needed them. Up here, at least, my grandmothers items, her legacy was. quarantined. The red book was very specific about the distribution of the totems around the house and property. I walked carefully through my moms backyard, boots plopping in and out of mud, compass in hand. It had rained nearly every day since Id taken my mom home from the hospital. I knew it was almost certainly a coincidence but couldnt help wonder if the soft curtains of rain falling to the ground were for her. I placed charms in a compass rose with the house in the middle. The most disturbing objects were given places of honor at each cardinal direction. Water, salt, wards, charms, all placed carefully, intentionally. My grandmothers book promised that these would offer some degree of protection against the inevitability of Death. The symbols would confuse it, the talismans distract it, and the water and salt make barriers to slow it down. But Death might still find a crack to slip through, so the red book recommended one final trick. There was a small candle in the bottom of the box, dirty white as stained paper. When I took the candle from its case the smell made me gag. Have you ever walked past a portable toilet in the dog days of summer? When its so hot, the blue plastic has started to warp and bubble? Imagine that smell distilled into a fingers worth of wax. I brought the candle downstairs, placed it on the dining room table and set it alight. The wick caught immediately, the flame burning an unusual red-brown. No heat came off of the candle and it actually seemed cooler the closer I moved my hand to the fire. Once the wax began to melt the smell was ten times worse than it was back in the attic. I choked down a greasy sickness crawling up my throat and quickly left the room, shutting the French doors as I went. That helped trap the odor but I couldnt shake the sense of nausea. I went to check on my mother. “Do you remember the day you ran away? ” my mom asked, sitting in her bed, lunch untouched on the nightstand beside her. I didnt think she had any weight left to lose before she was nothing but bone and memory. Her skin was rice paper over a frame that seemed smaller every day. Her eyes, though, no matter how fragile the rest of her became, remained two little lanterns against the dark, blue and bright and alive. “I didnt make it very far, ” I answered. “And I wasnt really running away, retching my legs. ” Mom smiled. “You told me you were leaving for the circus. You wanted to be either a lion tamer or a strongman or maybe a fire-eater. ” “I think I wanted to be all of that combined. Young me was big on multitasking. ” My mother turned so she was looking out the window into the yard. “I was so scared when I found your note, the one saying you were leaving. My hands were shaking like you wouldnt believe when I called the sheriff and then Mr. Jonas down the way. It felt like we were searching for you for half the night, even though it couldnt have been more than an hour before we found you there, lost in the woods, wandering around and shivering. You hadnt even brought a jacket. ” I sat next to my mom on the bed. “Yeah, I didnt exactly plan ahead for my circus escape. I remember. I remember getting over the idea real quick but I couldnt find my way back. Im glad you found me. ” “Im glad, too, ” my mother said and I noticed her wipe away a tear. “Im so glad. That hour you were gone, Brian, that was the most afraid Ive ever been. Afraid we wouldnt find you, afraid you might be hurt or worse. I couldnt hardly breathe through the fear. Then, suddenly, you were there and the relief nearly knocked me over. I think we stayed up together the rest of the night watching the stars. I wanted to make sure you could find the North Star in case you ever got lost again. ” She turned back to me, reached out her thin hand and placed it over mine. There were still tears in her eyes but she smiled her lighthouse smile and, for a moment, I saw her just as she used to be, just as she was the night I ran away and my mom found me. I squeezed her hand. “I was scared, too. I was afraid Id be stuck out there. What made you think of it? ” “Well, Ive been thinking a lot about dying lately and-” “Dont, ” I interrupted. “Dont talk like that. Youre not going anywhere, not for a long time. ” “Its okay, ” she said, squeezing my hand back. “Its okay. Ive known real fear and what Im feeling s not like that. Im scared, I guess, but Im at peace with it. I had such a beautiful life. Im so glad I got to meet you, to be your mom. ” “Im glad, too, ” I whispered, voice breaking on the last word. But I wont let you go without a fight, I added silently in my mind. Something was trying to get to my mom. The strangeness began the day after I lit the candle. At first it was small blips, tiny wrongs that I chalked up to my imagination. Doors I knew Id closed at night were open in the morning. Food began to rot and spoil within days of me bringing it into the house. Eventually, food would go bad within just a few hours. Every few hours the television in the living room would either turn off if it was running, or on if it was off. Clocks would stop overnight, always at 3:03 am. Shadows began sticking to the corners of rooms independent of any light sources. The shadows were stubborn and they would linger for as long as I would stare, then disappear when I blinked. I began hearing bumps and knocks at all hours and sometimes, when Id enter an empty room, I had a sharp, fleeting certainty that it was only just occupied. I avoided the dining room except to check in twice a day to see if the candle was still burning. The smell was vicious and would claw its way into your throat and nostrils the moment it was given a chance. I kept the door to the room shut and kept air fresheners running in the surrounding rooms 24/7. The funny thing was, the candle never went out, never even seemed to shrink. I could see the wax melting but day-in and day-out the candle refused to change. Days marched into weeks and the wrongness only grew deeper. My mom and I both lost sleep to vivid nightmares that we couldnt remember when we woke up. Only the echoes remained but those were enough to leave my pulse sprinting until morning. I started sleeping in a chair in my mothers room. I did this to comfort her if she woke up confused during the night but also because, if Im being honest, I was too scared to sleep alone. I felt like a child running into his parents room, convinced there was a monster under the bed. Thing there was. By the third week I couldnt keep doors closed. They would slam open the moment I left the room. A terrible scratching began inside of the walls. I told my mom it might be squirrels or mice but the sound was so insistent, not like rodents milling about, more like a dog wanting in. I stopped leaving the house for supplies; instead I had what little food we ate delivered. I kept the curtains drawn. There was tapping on the glass every night. About a month after leaving the hospital we were living like zombies. The dining room couldnt contain the smell of the candle anymore. The entire house was clogged with the scent. Tiny noises had graduated into full on laughs and screams and whispers in the rooms around us. Something kicked the bathroom door so hard while I was taking a shower that the hinges warped. I covered every mirror in the house. Id started to see things in the corners looking back at me, half-hidden faces, shapes that skittered away as soon as I turned around. Mom was drifting further and further away. She had long moments of confusion where shed forget my name, forget where we were. Sometimes, shed think I was my dad. Other times, shed just stare at the wall for hours, growing fainter and fainter each day like a polaroid left in the sun. But she was alive. It was clear that we under siege by something. My world shrank to only one room and every trip to the bathroom or to answer the door for food felt like going over the trenches. The noises kept getting worse and worse, the shadows closer, the sense of movement around the house sharper. Every now and then I would feel hot breath on the back of my neck or walk through a cold patch hanging in the air. I stopped bothering redrawing the lines of salt around the house. I knew, deep in my bones, that as long as the sickly candle burned, Death could not take my mom away. On the thirty third day after leaving the hospital, I woke with a start from a nightmare, only to find my moms bed empty. She hadnt been able to walk the past week at all, so my first feeling was hope that she might be improving, at least a little. Then I noticed the oder wed been living with for weeks was gone. “Mom! ” I shouted, running in bare feet out of the room. I found her in the dining room, the door wide open. She was standing at the table, frail as a neglected scarecrow, bobbing back and forth. Her hands were hovering over the candle. The flame was out. “Why did you do that? ” I whispered. “Mom? you okay? ” I padded into the room, the wooden floor freezing cold. My mother didnt react to my presence, she just continued rocking side-to-side. I realized she was still asleep. “Mom? ” I gently shook her shoulder. “Wake up. ” Her head snapped back and she nearly fell. I caught her on the way down. It felt like she weighed nothing at all. “Whats going on? ” she asked, looking around the dark room. “Where…” “Youre okay, ” I told her. “You were sleepwalking. ” “I was having the most unusual dream, ” mom mumbled. “There were so many stars and. ” She began to shiver uncontrollably. The cold hit me a moment later. I let out a gasp. The house was chilly before but the dining room was near-arctic. My breath bloomed into a thin cloud in front of my face. I became acutely aware of the complete silence filling the house. Then I heard scratching. It was coming all throughout the house, deep tearing sounds at the walls around the dining room. Footsteps came immediately after, heavy and fast. Somewhere in the house a window shattered. “Brian, ” my mother said, holding onto me. “Dont worry, ” I said, “everything will be-” My voice deserted me as a massive shadow unfolded in the corner of the room. It was shaped like a man but tall, so very tall. And it was fast. Before I could yell the shadow was on us, pouring over my mother. In the space of a heartbeat, she was simply gone. “No, ” I whispered, clawing at the dissolving shadow where my mom used to be. “No, no, no, no, NO. ” The shadow was disappearing like a puddle sinking into the floor. There was a texture to it, oily and too slick to hold. I thought of my mother the night she found me lost in the woods, the night Id run away. Her face filled my memory, her lighthouse smile. I remembered the relief I felt when she found me, the overwhelming love. I held onto that feeling, clutching it close. “You cant have her, ” I whispered. I closed my fist around the last threads of the shadow. There was a terrible sensation of pulling. It was like Id caught a horse by the tail and it was trying to shake me. But I held on. A sense of ripping and being dragged. It was a riptide with a mind of its own. It could not shake me. The temperature was dropping every second and I felt my vision growing dark. The last thought that ran through my head before I blacked out was a promise to myself that even if I died, my grip would hold. I wouldnt let my mothers life slip away. All sounds and light faded, narrowing to a pinprick and then going black. I woke up under a field of stars. I was lying in soft grass, still wearing my pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt. It was cool, wherever I was, but comfortably so. I stood up. There were trees all around me, tall and close, stitched together with shadows. Immediately to my right, there was a road that ran straight as far as I could see, blurring into the horizon. But the stars, they were like nothing Id ever seen before. Bright ribbons of northern lights rippled above me in green and blue and purple. Stars lit the sky like millions of lanterns floating on a still ocean. The moon shone sharpest of all, a spotlight hanging above the treeline, so close I thought I could stretch up and brush its face. “ You are persistent, ” said a voice from the forest behind me. I whipped around but couldnt see anyone. Then a dark spot began to clarify against the gloom. The silhouette separated itself and moved towards me. I recognized it instantly as the shadow from the dining room. As it moved closer, the thing grew and grew until it touched the sky and filled my vision. A deep dread sank into me but I stood my ground. “Give me back my mom, ” I shouted. The silhouette pulled away from the sky and then it was standing in front of me, the shape and size of a tall man. But instead of a shadow, the thing had wrapped itself in stars. Miniature constellations drifted across its body, floating slowly like a timelapse of a clear night sky. Burning brightest was the North Star, blue and warm. The space between the stars was absolute black, not a shadow but a complete absence of light. It was the most beautiful, terrifying thing Id ever seen. “What are you? ” I whispered. “You know, ” it replied. “Give her back, ” I begged. “Please, give her back. ” “I cant. Its her time. Past her time. You delayed me. Delayed her. ” I clenched my fists. “She didnt get enough time. I didnt get enough time. Its not right, its not fair. ” “Of course its not fair, ” the starry thing said, “but it is right. You each have your time, and at the end of it, theres me, and there is a road, and we walk it together. ” “Where to? ” I asked. “Where are you taking her? ” “I dont know. Its not for me to know, only to know how to get there. ” “Then I wont let you take her. ” I planted myself in the road. The world was still and solemn around us. The constellations drifted like clouds and a soft breeze stirred the branches. The starry thing didnt respond for a moment. “Your mother was kind and caring. Wherever she goes, shell have peace, ” it promised. “But-” The creature raised its hand. “Did you ever stop to think that death isnt an enemy? Death simply is. It is the natural partner to life. It knows no prejudice or malice, has no designs or ambitions. Your mother spent so long suffering, felt so much pain. Instead of letting her rest, you took it upon yourself to draw her life beyond its given course. You kept her alive but at the cost of stretching her thin, prolonging her sickness, diluting her. Did you keep her alive for her benefit or for yours? ” I couldnt answer. “Stretching a life is unnatural, dangerous, ” it told me. “In the weeks you kept me away you drew the attention of old things, hungry things, forces that would like nothing better than to swallow even the memory of your mother, to tear and bite until there was nothing left but pain and fear and a perfect emptiness. ” I shuddered remembering the clawing sounds, the shattered window, and the laughter from empty rooms. “Im sorry, ” I whispered. “Are they hurt her here? Is she safe? ” The stars in the shadow burned brighter for a moment. “Your mother wont walk her road alone. None of you do. I walk with you, always, to the end. ” “Can I see her? ” I asked. “Please? Just, me say goodbye. ” It considered for several seconds. “You are persistent. ” And then the starry thing was gone. I was standing alone on an empty road. “Brian? ” I turned to find my mother behind me on the road. She looked younger, healthier than Id seen her in years. The frailty was gone and my mother seemed exactly as I remembered her when she found me in the woods all those years ago. “Isnt this the most beautiful dream? ” she asked, staring up at the night sky. “Yeah, ” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “A beautiful dream. I love you, mom. I love you so much, so very much. ” She smiled and touched my cheek. “I love you, too. Dont cry, its okay. Ill wake up any time now. Ill see you then. ” I nodded, wiping at tears. “Sure, yeah, Ill see you then. ” “What do you think is at the end of the road? ” she asked. “Do you think Ill have time to find out before I wake up? ” I looked out at the road, scanning the trees for any hungry shadows. “I dont know, I dont know where it goes omise me youll be careful. ” My mom smiled wider. “Of course Ill be careful. ” “And she wont walk alone, ” said a familiar voice behind us both. I turned, expecting the starry thing. But the man standing on the road was entirely normal. The light from the moon was enough that I could see he had moss green eyes and a bright shock of red hair. “Such a beautiful dream, ” my mother said. The man came towards us and took my mothers hand. He and I looked so alike, I could see why my mother confused us when she was sick. “Take care of her, ” I told the man. “I…just please take care of her, make sure she gets where shes going. There are, well, there are things out there that want her, to hurt her, its, its my fault, Im sorry, Im so sorry-” The man squeezed my shoulder. “Shell be safe, watched over. If the Devil himself is waiting on the road ahead hell move. Or hell be moved. ” I believed him. Thoughts raced through my head. There were so many things I wanted to say, questions, a million ways to say goodbye. I wanted to stretch out the moment for as long as I could but I realized Id already delayed my mother enough. “I love you, ” I told them both. “Goodbye. ” I woke up back in my dining room sitting at the table, the unlit candle in front of me. The house was quiet and still. There was no more scratching, no sound or sense of life at all. I walked through every room. The house was empty. I was alone. Ive spent the past couple months working on the house, erasing the marks Id made, fixing up the property. Some nights I take long walks out into the forest. Im far enough out in the country that on clear nights its like looking up at a sea of stars. I think about my parents the most during those walks, I grieve and remember in my own way. And I wonder where their road went, if theyre still traveling or if they reached their destination. I hope that their road takes them strange and beautiful places. When I walk at night, I look up for the North Star to keep from getting lost. Maybe they do the same. When its full, I also look up towards the moon. I wonder if my parents had a chance to visit, to search for hidden oceans. I like to think they did, that the moon has at least one Maria, the one I love most. EDIT: Thank you to everyone who read the story and my heart goes out to every single person that shared their experiences, spoke about their grief, love and family. Life is too short, and it's never fair, but I know that as long as you remember the people you've lost, they never walk their road alone.
Before My Heart Falls watch the trailer. YouTube.