2023 Kickoff Countdown – Chicago Red Stars BACKGROUND INFORMATION Head Coach: Chirs Petrucelli
Hired midway through preseason, he coached fairly conservatively…maintaining tactics through the season no matter the opponent or player availability. He’s shouty from the sidelines, but more in a positive soccer dork way than a “I will ruin your life” way like with Dames. General Manager: Michelle Lomnicki
(1st year) Captain:
Alyssa Naeher NO TOUCHING. Stadium:
SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgetown, IL
Capacity of 20,000. Though sits roughly 12 miles from downtown Chicago, it might as well be 40 million miles away. In an odd piece of trivia, SeatGeek Stadium does not use SeatGeek as it’s ticket provider. Ownership: Arnim Whistler
Despite being probably the single most important figure keeping domestic women’s soccer alive through the late WPS/early NWSL era, the league is desperately looking for a window to shove him out of. You might remember him from such reports as the Yates Report, and the Joint NWSL/NWSLPA Investigation. Mascot: Supernova
The original bassist for Soundgarden, Supernova was introduced as the Red Stars mascot in 2014. According to Instagram, Supernova and Chicago Fire mascot Sparky are best friends. Kits: Primary Kit: Foundation Secondary Kit: Skyscraper Supporters Groups: Chicago Local 134 Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/redstars/ News and Commentary: Chicago Sun Times Red Stars Report Key Twitter Follows for Team Insights:
Annie Costabile https://twitter.com/AnnieCostabile
Sandra Herrera https://twitter.com/SandHerrera_
Claire Watkins https://twitter.com/ScoutRiply SCHEDULE
2023 Season Opener: Saturday, March 25 vs. San Diego – 10:00PM ET
2023 Home Opener: Sunday, April 1 vs. Houston – 2:00PM ET HISTORY
2022 Season Review
- NWSL Championship: 0 (Runners up: 2019, 2021)
- NWSL Shield: Supporters’ Shield: 0 (Runners up: 2015, 2019)
- NWSL Challenge Cup: 0 (Runner up: 2020)
Last year, they had a mini-exodus with 6 players moving westward, including ironwomen and defender of the year candidate Sarah Gorden. Picked somewhere in the middle of the pack of the league, they stayed in the middle of pack of the league all year, only spending 2 weeks out of a playoff spot, but never really threatening the iron of the NWSL. They lost Tierna Davidson and Kayla Sharples early to ACL tears, and Casey Krueger, Kealia Watt, and Sarah Woldmoe to pregnancies.
Chicago started the season quickly, not being defeated a 2nd time until mid-July, including a win over the eventual Shield winning Reign. Once that second loss locked in though, they went 4-1-6 down the stretch outlasting the Courage for that last playoff spot before bowing out in extra time to the Wave.
As stated by pretty much everyone, the driving force behind the successes of the team was Mallory Swanson. She scored 11 goals, assisted on 6 more, and was generally brilliant in what was essentially her come-back year into international prominence. But the midfield engine was driven in the middle by the now-departed pairing of Vanessa Dibernardo and Danielle Colaprico. In 2021, they both struggled with injury and staying on the field…something that wasn’t a problem in 2022. Dibernardo especially was impressive, as she went from a more attacking role to dropping back to help shield the backline with Colaprico, who is a more traditional defensive mid.
The outside backs kind of rotated a bit, with normal started Arin Wright trying to stay healthy. Rachel Hill dropped from the front line to cover on the left, and Bianca St George started on the right in a role that was as much attacking as defending. St George continued her affinity for drawing red cards with a frankly derivative performance of double birds, that was the game week after Amber Brooks performance.
Zoe Morse played well in a central defensive role before leaving for England this offseason. Milazzo came out of no where to become one of the most technically sound defenders in the league. I don’t know. I don’t like this team very much, and they can on occasion play attractive football. I guess. Who cares. They finished 6th. Player Movement
|Date ||Player Out ||Pos ||New Club ||Notes |
|October 31, 2022 ||Chelsea Dawber ||F ||Adelaide United ||Loan |
|November 15, 2022 ||Channing Foster ||M ||SK Slavia Praha ||Option declined |
|November 15, 2022 ||Mikenna McManus ||D ||Throttur ||Option declined |
|November 15, 2022 ||Danielle Colaprico ||M ||San Diego Wave ||Out of contract |
|November 15, 2022 ||Vanessa DiBernardo ||M ||Kansas City Current ||Out of contract |
|November 15, 2022 ||Morgan Gautrat ||M ||Kansas City Current ||Out of contract |
|November 15, 2022 ||Rachel Hill ||F ||San Diego Wave ||Out of contract |
|November 15, 2022 ||Kealia Watt ||F ||Unattached ||Out of contract |
|December 6, 2022 ||Sarah Woldmoe ||M ||Unattached ||Retired |
|December 14, 2022 ||Sarah Luebbert ||M ||Club America ||Transfer |
|January 8, 2023 ||Zoe Morse ||D ||Brighton Hove & Albion ||Out of contract |
|March 2, 2023 ||Chelsea Dauber ||F ||IFK Norrköping ||Recalled, and Loaned |
|Date ||Player In ||Pos ||Previous Club ||Notes |
|January 9, 2023 ||Addie McCain ||M ||Kansas City Current ||Free agent |
|January 9, 2023 ||Jenna Bike ||F ||NJ/NY Gotham FC ||Free agent |
|January 12, 2023 ||Penelope Hocking ||F ||Penn St Nittany Lions ||Draft |
|January 12, 2023 ||Ally Schlegel ||F ||Penn St Nittany Lions ||Draft |
|January 12, 2023 ||Sophie Jones ||M ||Duke Blue Devils ||Draft |
|January 25, 2023 ||Julia Bianchi ||M ||Palmeiras ||Transfer |
|January 12, 2023 ||Cari Roccaro ||M ||Angel City ||Trade |
|March 20, 2023 ||Taylor Malham ||M ||Racing Louisville ||Waivers |
Predicted Preferred Gameday XI
|Number ||First ||Last ||POS ||Contract status |
|21 ||Emily ||Boyd ||GK ||Option exercised |
|1 ||Alyssa ||Naeher ||GK ||Signed through 2023+ |
|12 ||Tierna ||Davidson ||D ||Signed through 2023 |
|31 ||Amanda ||Kowalski ||D ||Signed through 2024+ |
|6 ||Casey ||Krueger ||D ||Signed through 2023 |
|23 ||Tatumn ||Milazzo ||D ||Signed through 2024+ |
|28 ||Kayla ||Sharples ||D ||Option exercised |
|22 ||Bianca ||St. Georges ||D ||Option exercised |
|3 ||Arin ||Wright ||D ||Signed through 2024 |
|14 ||Jill ||Aquilera ||M ||Signed through 2023 |
|5 ||Julia ||Bianchi ||M ||Signed through 2024 |
|29 ||Sami ||Feller ||M ||NRI |
|2 ||Sammi ||Fisher ||M ||Signed through 2023 |
|16 ||Sophie ||Jones ||M ||Signed through 2024 |
|32 ||Taylor ||Malham ||M ||Signed through 2023 |
|13 ||Addie ||McCain ||M ||Signed through 2024+ |
|4 ||Cari ||Roccaro ||M ||Signed through 2023 |
|24 ||Jenna ||Bike ||F ||Signed through 2024+ |
|25 ||Ava ||Cook ||F ||Signed through 2023 |
|27 ||Chelsie ||Dawber ||F ||Signed through 2023+ |
|15 ||Sarah ||Griffith ||F ||Signed through 2023 |
|55 ||Penelope ||Hocking ||F ||Signed through 2025+ |
|26 ||Brenna ||Lovera ||F ||NRI |
|20 ||Cheyna ||Matthews ||F ||NRI |
|7 ||Yuki ||Nagasato ||F ||Signed through 2023+ |
|34 ||Ally ||Schlegal ||F ||Signed through 2025+ |
|8 ||Ella ||Stevens ||F ||Option exercised |
|9 ||Mallory ||Swanson ||F ||Signed through 2023 |
– With the personnel Chicago have, I can’t imagine they are going to deviate much from the 3-4-3 they used last year. Formation: 3-4-3
If you squint, you can see a 5-2-1-2. Or a 3-4-1-2. Or anything you want. Formations are fake. But last year before the injury bug tore through the ACLs of seemingly the entirety of Woso, Petrucelli’s stated plan was to put Tierna Davidson in the middle, with Milazzo on the left and Sharples on the left. Sharples is still on the SEI list, but Davidson is probably ready. Milazzo is coming off an all-2nd XI in the league in her 2nd year. Krueger comes back from pregnancy to fill out the backline, simply because she’s a way better defender than going forward, especially compared to St Georges.
When Sarah Woldmoe announced her retirement, Sammi Fisher and Jill Aguilera were the only two midfielders under contract…they’ve played a combined 939 minutes in their careers (for comparison’s sake, that’s less than fellow rookie Ava Cook played on her own by 4 minutes). To cover that, they made two defend-and-distribute moves, acquiring Julia Bianchi from Palmeiras, and picking up Sophie Jones in the draft. Those two should be able to hold it down while Roccaro plays in a freer role in the middle like she did last year for Angel City. The other mids on the roster can mix and match based on skills…you don’t want Addie McCain trying to lock down the middle, but she could replace Roccaro for a spell and not be hurt.
Chicago’s success this season is going to depend on the forwards, and even to that end, on Mallory Swanson. Though her impact on Red Stars last year was overblown (inasmuch as she didn’t bring a terrible roster kicking and screaming to the playoffs…she was a legit MVP candidate that had a lot of help from very good performances, especially from the backline and Dibernardo/Colaprico), she is their most important player, and one of the best players in the league. Even with the world cup year, she should already be penciled in as a top-5 MVP candidate. Yuki Nagasato can provide the service Swanson needs…since she can’t pass to herself, though last year she lost effectiveness as the year went on. Ella Stevens is the likely starter until Hocking is ready, providing the awkward finishing that teams of this calibre need to be successful. Last year during the Challenge Cup, Stevens tried to take a shot on goal, slipped, fell and twisted a bit, swinging her hand up striking the ball into the goal. Called off, but an impressive level of “baby dear learning how to walk” for a pro. Likely Top Bench/Subs:
|First ||Last ||Pos |
|Amanda ||Kowalski ||D |
|Sophie ||Jones ||M |
|Addie ||McCain ||M |
|Jenna ||Bike ||F |
|Penelope ||Hocking ||F |
|Ava ||Cook ||F |
This is a thin roster. Very very thin. Something to Prove
Cari Roccaro – Last year was her 7th year in the league, and she scored her first goal…and then 3 more. She just has to show that given some playing time and freedom, she is going to be able to help Chicago all year.
Julia Bianchi – This project in Chicago isn’t going to work if they don’t have a ball winner in the middle of the pitch, so she has to step in immediately and make an impact.
Ella Stevens – She’s one of those classic “could be out of the league just as easily as being a regular starter” players at this point. Though she seems effective when she plays, she doesn’t get as much playing time as expected. Out for the season
Sharples is on the SEI list, but about 10 months out from her ACL tear, so she will likely be back. 2023 PREVIEW Realistic Best Case Scenario
– 5th-6th place
Pretty much everything has to go right. The ACL’s heal, the pregnancies bounce back, players that are healthy stay healthy…as well as the ones that are injury prone. The rookies integrate well. The Milazzo continues to develop, Yuki pushes back against father time a little bit. Love wins
. Realistic Worst Case Scenario
This is roster on the edge. However, Chicago currently has the longest playoff streak in the league, and in some years, that’s been confounding. Realistic Most Probable Scenario
I just don’t have much confidence in a roster that is basically built as Mall Swanson, defense, and pray. I have a feeling I might be discounting Chicago prematurely, but I just don’t see how they can compete with this roster against teams that have more concentrated talent on it.
Hello, I’ve found myself to be in quite the pickle.
I live in Chicago and park my car on the street as I have no garage access in my building. Simply because there is no garage haha.
Well I went on a vacation recently and was gone for two weeks and came back to check on my car. I see I have a flat tire in the driver side rear wheel and one on the passenger side front wheel.
I check my trunk for a spare and see I have nothing.
I’m trying to imagine the best way to handle this situation. Would it be best to have a tow truck take my car to a local tire shop and see about buying replacement tires or having them try and repair my existing tires?
I appreciate any assistance on how to handle my situation. Thanks
My car is a Hyundai Elantra SE 2014
Previous lender who I have a loan out with currently can’t take on anymore loans - my loan with him will be settled on the 30th, currently up to date with payment.
Looking to borrow $320 for a $450 repayment, split into 2 payments - 03/30 and 4/15
Hello again, I know it's been a long time since my last post and I'm sorry for the lack of update. I thought my story wasn't that interesting enough so I decided not to continue updating you with this, but recently y found out about one of those videos on youtube that narrates these stories with a robotic voice, the comments had a lot of people wanting to know more about what's happening to me with the house.
I was fixing some grammar issues before hitting the "Post" button when the book fell from the shelf, and then I wrote that sentence before standing up and reading the book. The cover was made of very worn-out leather, lots of hands may have passed through it several times to feel the texture. I opened it and read the title on the first page: "Around the world in eighty days" by Jules Verne.
Nothing happened during the first five minutes, and then the floor started trembling for a few seconds. Just when I thought that was it, it started again louder and harder with a whistle that almost broke my eardrums.
The book closed on my hands and silence returned to the room. After that, I had to sit down for a minute because I felt my heart was stopping.
The house didn't let that night slide either, I heard steps coming from the hall all night. They were lightweight and pointy, like the ones a woman with high heels would make walking down a wooden floor. It stopped after 1 am.
Now you know how that day ended.
I would lie to you if I say that I have been living in the house all this time along, but also if I say otherwise. Truth is, I took rule 9 and reach its limit most of the time staying most of the days of the month outside and spending no more than 2 days here. The first couple of months were easy, I slept in my best friend's house creating excuses for not being here: fumigations, paintings, repairs... You named it.
The rest of the time I took advantage of my work, some new clients were those elderly businessmen who prefer seeing someone face-to-face rather than a screen. Sadly, that contract ended and I couldn't come up with more excuses to not be here.
I kept writing about everything that happened to me since. You will find below an edition of the most interesting things that happened. December 2nd / 2022
You know that feeling when you are returning back home or school after a long vacation. That moment when you are just turning the key of the door, knowing that time is over and your life must return to its normal course... But still, you can feel some sort of joy.
This is not my case. This is supposed to be my home, the opportunity to start my life in the best way possible... And there was me, a couple of minutes ago, standing, thinking about my options and creating ideas while getting closer to the door.
When I entered the house everything was exactly how I left it, with a little bit of dust. This time I came with some groceries, I had to eat during the week and think about what I was going to do with the house. Also bought some food for Brook, he saved my laptop and I never rewarded him.
I put my fingers in my mouth and let out a big whistle. For the first 10 seconds nothing happened, the sound echoed through the walls of the first floor and I was standing again in silence. Then I saw the big ball of hair, waving its tail, running towards me from the living room.
- I'm sorry it took me so long to bring you something, Brook. -Said I while trying to stop him from licking my face.
I walked to the kitchen and poured the bag of food into the named bowl. I had a weird mix of feeling while watching him eat.
A normal dog would have died without food or water, the most probable thing is that he was feeding up from moss creatures or the guests. I felt the same looking at the silver bell for the butler. Getting caught by them must be worse than any other creature here... at least they are on my side.
I left Brook to eat and started cooking myself some food. It was 4:33pm, and cooking and cleaning would take me at least 35 minutes, but the kitchen has a window that leads to the backyard.
Let me tell you, that thing outside has some sort of pressure on your curiosity. It knows that once you see it and recognize it you are done, the effort I had to make to not look at it last time was huge and I was only passing through for some instants. So I took the tablecloth and cover the window, it was an opaque white so I couldn't see through.
That worked very well. I didn't feel any curiosity about what was on the other side of the cloth while cooking, looks like the rule never contemplated blocking the view to the backyard. My day ended without any issues, I went upstairs and slept after some hours.
I wish I could end this entry here, saying that my arrival at the house was good and didn't have any problem at all. I must be crazy to think that this place would have some sort of patience... or that the entities would give me a day of grace.
The next morning I went downstairs around 8 am to make myself some coffee, and that's when I saw it. The floor in the kitchen was a mess, a giant puddle of that black substance coming from the insides of the lady when the Butler mashed her head on the bookshelf. The puddle had a trace leading to the backdoor of the house, on the way I saw some irregular scratches on the floor and the doorframe had these... handmarks. Whatever it was, it didn't want to go to the backyard.
The cloth was still hanging, and when I read what was on it the message was clear.
"Bach won't come" January 1st / 2023
I hope you had a good new year's eve.
Normally, people use this date as an excuse to throw a big party, either with friends or family, creating the best environment to close a lap and begin a new one.
Yesterday, I spent all day at my friend's house. Everyone cheered when the bells rang, and his family hugged me and wished me a good year. After that I had to get home on foot, there weren't any drivers in that zone.
Turning the key front door key led me to the worst scenario I have ever been in. It's impossible to quantify the number of people that were inside the house, but more than 50 would be a good guess. Everywhere you looked at would see people dressed as aristocrats, everyone cheered and clapped after seeing me. A tall man, dressed in a red suit full of sequins and another of those ridiculous wigs came to me.
- Arthur, mon ami! -Cheered before hugging me-. Where have you been? Let me guess, you were with that belle femme you talked to me about the other day... What was her name... Madelyn? Come on, tell me abut her charmes et capacités.
- ¡Monsieur Gérard! -Screemed a woman while running towards us-. What kind of questions are those? Excuse us, Arthur. We are very thankful to spend the beginning of the new year with you.
Then, the woman grabbed the man by the forearm and pulled him away.
I knew it was a matter of time before this turned into a disaster, but also didn't know what would happen if I left the house with so many guests inside.
During December I had lots of encounters with these guests, I was able to persuade them to leave the house 90% of the time, but the other 10% left... Well, I left it hands of the Buttler.
Nevertheless, I started hiding objects to use as weapons to defend myself in case I lost the bell or if Mr Bach decided not to help me anymore.
I slowly began to walk towards the large sofa in the living room, between the cushions was an axe I bought at a local hardware store, even asked the guy to sharpen the edge as much as he could.
The voices started to fade away and the eyes of the guest started to focus on me. I grab my backpack and pulled out the bell, the sound vibrated throughout the whole house, making the echoes the last noise I heard before complete silence.
- Good night, master Samuel. How is your night going? -Asked Mr Bach, who appeared to be behind me all this time.
- Hi Mr Bach, it was good until now. -Answered I while pulling the axe between the cushions.- It's time for the guests to leave.
The Buttler looked around the whole house, the guests were now standing still with their eyes fixed on me.
- Such a pity to end this beautiful celebration.
One of them ran towards me, screaming with that unhuman voice, but was intercepted by Mr Bach's glove, grabbing his face and throwing it against the chimney. All of the other creatures started screaming and contorting, the sound of bones breaking and appendages ripping away the skin almost drowned my whistle. Their mouths opened until the jaw was broken, showing now a set of endless sharp teeth.
Brook charged against one that was bout to get me on my back. After biting it, he shook his head breaking the tissues and spreading that black substance over the floor and walls.
I tried to maintain my position, Mr. Bach and Brook got my back so if I need to worry only to keep my front safe. But none of us expected one of those things to crawl through the ceiling, it grabbed me with those claws but I managed to hit it with the handle of the axe on the head. It threw me over the creatures, landing on the other side of the house near the kitchen.
A group of teeth and claws was keeping me away from my only chance to survive the night, and the only way to escape was through the stairs. I ran upstairs, the space was narrow so the creatures could only go one at a time.
I managed to get to the second floor after 50 steps, and without losing time I went through the hall as fast as I could. But one of the things managed to get me on my feet. I fell to the ground and dropped the axe, and then something happened. The door of the bathroom opened, hitting the creature and leaving it stunned for a few seconds. That allowed me to grab the axe and cut the arm that was grabbing me.
Now back on my feet I reached the window and jumped through the crystal. This time I fell on the couch immediately, where a white glove pulled me by the arm making me stand again.
- Pardon my daring, master Samuel. -Said Mr Bach calmly, he neither sweat nor dishevelled.- But the current situation requires your immediate attention, you shall rest afterwards.
I stood strong this time, taking care not only of my front but the things above me, grabbing my axe so hard that my hands started to burn.
I don't know how much we were there. An axe wasn't the best object to use as a weapon, but one good blow was enough to get rid of those things. However, two of them managed to wound me with their claws on the left shoulder and leg. But thanks to Brook and Mr Bach I had no serious wounds.
A beam of light went through the main frame, and the last howl was shut by a swing of the axe, beginning the first dawn of the year.
The first floor was filled with that black substance, the bodies were on top of each other making it almost impossible to walk through the living room. I collapsed on the couch, dropping the axe, which now can be used more as a hammer.
- I'm sorry that your celebration finished this way, master Samuel. -Said the Buttler while sweeping away some rests of his suit.
I wanted to cry, but my fatigue allowed me to only catch my breath while looking dead at the ceiling. Mr Bach approached with some bandages, helping me with my wounds.
- I believe that after this night you shall consider not being outside your room after hours. -Said him while staring with some abetment and an ironic smile.- I will clean the first floor, please go upstairs and have a rest, after that you shall give something to the canine.
Brook barked and waved its tail, he was also covered in that dirty stuff. I stood up and walked to the stairs, with hatred in my eyes as I was approaching a voice interrupted my thoughts.
January 12th / 2023
- I almost forgot... Happy new year, master Samuel.
After almost two weeks new year's incident, things went pretty normal. I only had two encounters with the guests and both of them were easy to persuade. Whatever lies in the backyard have been more active after the incident with the curtain, before that It only appeared to be a person standing at the back but now moves through the place taking different forms.
This creature is the one I fear the most, it's the only one I don't have any plan for if it decides to become hostile. Following the rule should keep me safe from it, but I'm not so sure knowing that it's capable of entering the house whenever it wants.
I always prepare my dinner before 5pm and leave it inside the fridge, so when the time comes I only have to spend the necessary in the kitchen. I was getting used to its behaviour... and It noticed.
A couple of minutes ago I went downstairs to grab my food. On my periphery saw how it was moving in the backyard, I don't know if I focused on him more than necessary or if it decided to remind me of something... But without any warning, it ran up towards the window, I turned away and covered my eyes to avoid any curiosity.
- S...aaaa...muuu...eeeeeel. -Babbled. I could hear it crawling on the window, it was like something wet was savouring behind the crystal. D...o youuuu... thiiiinnnnk... yoooou arreeee....a....maaaaan....noow? -Asked starting to sound like my father, it was like a radio tuning the correct frequency... slowly getting it right.
I had to crawl to the stair. The curses weren't that creative, but I lost my appetite when that thing started to tell private things and secrets about me with my father's voice. February 1st - 2th / 2023
Edit: These were two entries I wrote when my best friend came to visit me. Since I bought it, Johnny wanted to come and take a look around the house. As I mentioned before, I made lots of excuses to avoid it, but by that time I ran out of "good reasons" to say no. February 1st / 2023
After showing him the first floor Johnny approached the stairs.
I supposed this was going to happen, I read rule No. 9 the day before and pondered about it and concluded that was more like a suggestion... But I rang the bell just to be sure.
- Good morning, master Samuel. How can I help you today?
- Good morning, Mr Bach. Do you think is a good idea to bring some guests to the second floor?
- If I recall right, which I always do, you had a lady here in the studio. Sadly, the discussion did not end very well.
- ...an expected guess.
- Oh, pardon me... Well, master Samuel, in that case... if your guest does not have any handicaps you could bring them here without any inconvenience.
That confirmed my doubts regarding the knowledge of Mr Bach about the rules and its entities.
- Do you want me to prepare something for you and your guest? -Asked him.
- Coffee would be great.
- Very well. By the way, I was wondering where did you get the jacket you were wearing two days ago, that wine-coloured leather looks very good.
He left the room without saying any more words.
I was counting Johnny's steps. I trusted his speed, so I didn't have to worry about that. After 17 steps we reached the second floor, he just said that the house looked smaller from the outside.
We entered the studio and he was amazed by the great library. Both of us started working on our laptops, talking from time to time to rest from the work.
10 minutes after entering, Mr Bach came. Holding a tray with cups and a plate with butter cookies.
- Are you kidding me? -Asked Johnny-. A butler? How much are you earning?
- Well... Several things happened in the company and I had a raise, this house is big so I use it to hire Mr Bach to help me keep it clean. He only works halftime.
Although I indeed had a raise it was not enough to pay for a Buttler, thank god Johnny did not ask any more questions about it during the day. I thought that would be a peaceful day, but suddenly a book fell from the shelf.
- Ugh, I need to fix that shelf. -Said I while walking towards the book.
- What are you reading?
- Uhm... The Canterville Ghost. -Answered I while reading the first page.
I was worried while reading the book, if Johnny decided to engage in talking it would have been impossible for me to keep focusing on the book. Some murmuring started to fill the room, like a main whispering about its suffering.
- Did you hear that? -Asked him.
- What? -Asked me without looking away from the book.
- I don't know, I sounded like a man.
- Oh, sometimes the pipes make that sound, the house is old and I'm already used to it.
Johnny was looking around for some time and I prayed that he didn't want to ask any more about it, thankfully he didn't give it more importance and went back to his work. After some minutes the book closed and I returned it to its shelf.
The day ended without any incidents. February 2nd / 2023
Throughout our life is normal to be disappointed by our friends. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes we expect too much from the people around us, even more, when they are close to us. But... How can you blame them when they're victims of paranormal things?
Johnny came again to my house, he told me on the phone that they were going to paint his room today and he enjoyed working on my study. He always helped me when I need it, so I couldn't say no... Now I think I should have.
It is said that the most dangerous road a driver can face is the one he frequents the most. Confidence plays against them, he gets cocky and causes an accident. All of this was happening as I was pushing Johnny upstairs.
- What's going on? -He asked, but the rotten and twisted hall answered for me.
While we were running I warned him to not look into the rooms, but he did it anyway. I jumped first through the window, but Johnny doubted for a second.
Then, we both fell on the couches of the living room. Johnny was in shock, he couldn't stop screaming and asking questions, but when turned around I saw what happens when you doubt even for a second.
He couldn't feel it because of the adrenaline, but his back was all shredded. One second was enough for what lured in the stairs to lacerate through his clothes and flesh. It was a matter of time before he start feeling the pain... or bleeding out, so I rang the bell.
Mr Bach was ordered to treat Johnny's wounds, and so he complied. He told me Johnny was lucky, the cuts were almost irregular enough to be impossible to treat.
After some minutes Johnny was calmed, maybe because of the blood loss, so we could talk normally. I told him everything about the house, the strange rules that Alex gave me and the reason for all the excuses. For the first time I didn't feel alone, I was free of this burden and broke into tears.
- Damn... Why don't sell it?
- I tried after almost a hundred guests killed me in the new year. -Answered I while cleaning my tears-. They decide to "look for other options" after looking at the house's history.
- What if you sell the terrain to the bank?
- The house must have an owner, a person... The last time I tried to outsmart the rules didn't end quite well.
Night came and I told Johnny he needed to leave. The last thing I wanted was him overnight here. After gathering his thing we went to the door, suddenly he hugged me and told me that everything will be alright.
That made me feel better, knowing that I wasn't alone anymore. I went upstairs relieved, I have been struggling with this burden all alone and I had my friend right there the whole time. That wasn't going to solve my problems but at least it will drop some of the weights off my shoulders.
Rule No. 9 states that people will forget about the existence of the Buttler and the dog... But there is something I must add tomorrow. The true danger of the house doesn't lie in the uninvited guests, the thing in the backyard or what lurks on the staircase...
1 New Message
Johnny: Jesus dude, It's still awesome that you have your own house. I love the study on the sec0ond floor, I feel more productive on it. Do you mind if I go tomorrow again?
I never thought I would say this... but I got used to the house.
Running upstairs has become very common, even though it only happens every other day and I even started to enjoy some of the conversations with the guests before... taking them out.
My last entrances to this diary have been two or three sentences, so there is no point in writing them here... but today something happened:
I was working on the study when a book fell. As I said, all of these things have become very normal to me, and in this particular case, I see this as a pause to relieve my mind. "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", I took it and sat down starting from the beginning.
I usually put my phone on "do not disturb" mode while I'm at the study, this prevents me from distracting either by work or the reading sessions... And I think I will start leaving it outside of the room.
I may have looked away for two seconds, but that was enough to piss off that thing. A deafening roar filled the room, the wall behind me was destroyed by a wind rush and I was thrown out.
I landed far away, rolled through some fields and finally stopped near a tree. The sky was pitch black, barely illuminated by some flashes of lightning each second. Behind me was a giant tornado, heading towards my direction.
The room was up on a hill, it was like a surrealistic painting of a study built in the middle of a field. I ran towards it as fast as I could.
I felt the tornado's force pulling me while running uphill, and as I was about to reach the room I tripped with something and fell to the ground.
Some branches grabbed my shoes and a rotten hay face was emerging from the ground and looked back at me.
- Comeeee with us Dorothy -Whispered.
The tornado was getting closer, so I just untied my shoe and ran away. I jumped over the desk, grabbed the phone and the laptop and headed towards the door, hearing the room getting ripped as I was passing through.
I sat down on the floor, taking a moment to get my breath.
It was there when I read the message that almost cost my life. [Unknown number]: Hey Samuel, it's Alex... We need to talk.