At the Warehouse of Madness.

Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting for you.

The new IKEA catalog is waiting, just beyond your line of sight — hovering beyond the pleasures and pursuits of this world, somewhere else, somewhere bathed in Stygian darkness, somewhere beyond. Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting. It is waiting for you to speak the forbidden words within its glossy pages, those unholy words, indecipherable except in their cosmic, Scandanavian horror. The new IKEA catalog is waiting for you to unleash the chthonic beasts hidden within the cheerful depths of its Småland ball pit. Give your children to the pit. Give them willingly, and perhaps you will be spared. The new IKEA catalog makes no promises.

The new IKEA catalog is waiting — and watching. You must traverse the ceremonial maze, you must gaze into the empty, haggard eyes of your fellow travelers and the acolytes who assist them, robed in the colors of cosmic rays and acidic, poisoned waters. Their rictus smiles and jittery digits serve as signposts along the path. You must trudge along at the pace of the slowest, the ones surely to be culled first, and you must not allow the decadent temptations glimmering beyond the safety of the twisting path to dazzle you with the effulgence of their clean lines and minimal padding.

You will not reach the center of the maze, for its non-Euclidean confines have no true center, but you may reach a place of respite where you will find malign offerings to tempt the weary pilgrim. Alongside gelatinous mounds of unknown and unknowable berries, balls of ground and roasted flesh sit and wait for consumption. Turn aside, traveler. These unwholesome delights are not what you seek. You must go on, for the new IKEA catalog is waiting.

Down now, down the treacherous stairs that twist in the middle and spill you into the next phase of the labyrinth. More goods gleam and seduce and dazzle in your peripheral vision. Fluorescent tubes cast a sickly glow along the path, their collective hum a rasping prayer to gods you can never know. You continue. Your new catalog is waiting.

Abruptly, the path ends. You pass from the ghastly iridescence of noisome candles and sickly plants into a darker place. The odor of unstable mock-planks of shredded wood assaults you and a mechanical whine startles you into motion. It is within these depths that the new IKEA catalog awaits.

Despite the fatigue and distress, you must push on.

Loathsome and hideous, stacked boxes reach into the heights where once you saw blue skies. It is possible that they still exist out there, somewhere within the cosmos, but you despair at ever seeing them again. The new IKEA catalog waits for you, and time grows short.

Near the last hurdle is an unspeakable room where the dregs collect, the broken and soiled cast-offs which dwell in bins and stacks and sometimes overflow into each other, the larger pieces leaning against one another as though in a drunken stupor, the smaller shivering together at the bottoms of fetid heaps. Some pilgrims dare to enter this place, but upon exit, one can see that they have altered in some fundamental way and only gibbering madness remains where once there was equilibrium.

Now the pilgrims who wandered from the path pay. They queue for the pleasure of but a few chosen acolytes, those trusted to count the signed chits and rare coins the pilgrims leave in exchange for the eldritch objects that will now grace their dank and accursed homes.

But where is the new IKEA catalog, that tome for which you have sweated and persevered amongst conditions beyond comprehension? It was to divulge all of its most hideous secrets, all of the forbidden decor-based knowledge you craved.

In desperation, you accost an acolyte. “Where are the catalogs?” you cry.

“They are no more, shunned mortal,” the acolyte intones gravely. “We expect additional volumes in a week or so.”

Empty-handed and bereft, sanity departed, you fall to your knees, keening.

Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting — as are you.

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