Tjalla
rating: +31+x

She watched from a distance as three Staff walked by. It was unusual to see a group of them moving with some apparent purpose during the day, but it wasn't unheard of. She knew the god-awful things would ignore her while the lights were on, but that didn't make her want to go anywhere near them. She'd seen what they do when the lights were off.

So she waited for them to pass, clutching the clock in her hands.

The clock was a gift; it was Hannah's birthday tomorrow. She hadn't expected to find love in an endless Ikea filled with monsters, but no-one ever did, she figured. She'd been here for a little over a year now. A year since that fateful day when she'd gone shopping for shelves and ended up in what must be as close to hell as humans will ever see. A year since she met Hannah.

Hannah had been here a few months already when she arrived, and the first time she saw her, she was swinging a makeshift club at the head of one of the Staff. She hated herself just a little bit for the way she remembered it, all in slow motion like some Hollywood movie cliché. The club swinging in, the crunch of the Staffs head as it connected, her dirty red hair flying wildly around her. Then she turned and look straight at her, and the fierceness of her expression almost stopped her heart, her eyes ablaze with some internal force.

The whole thing had happened in about three seconds; she wondered how much of that memory her mind had embellished over the last year.

She'd never really believed it in that spark people always talk about feeling, dismissed it as some overly romantic nonsense made up to sell love stories to idiots. But they met properly the following day, and the sparks were immediate. She was fiery and confident, and people always listened when she spoke. She wasn't entirely sure what Hannah saw in her, but it was just as instant for her, she said.

So a year later she got Hannah a clock.

Getting gifts for someone was hard work when you live in a store where everything is free for the taking. But, Hannah was always complaining about never knowing what time it was, especially in the dark of the early morning before the lights came back on, and so she had found her a clock.

She waited for the Staff to pass before continuing on her way back to Market Hall. She'd wandered a bit further from town than she normally would have done, but she knew the area well and there was plenty of time to get back. Past the isle of lamps, through the weird bed display section where all the beds were small squares, left at the giant hotdog sign and then-

Her heart skipped a beat.

The exit was in front of her.

She'd heard the stories of course. That sometimes people would find the exit and leave, or that others would see it just to have it vanish in front of them. She didn't really believe them. But here it was.

Her legs were moving before she even had a chance to think about it. Sprinting as fast as they could towards the doors, clock still clutched in her hands. She wasn't sure she could have stopped if she'd wanted to.

It took less than five seconds to reach the doors and pass through them. And then she was outside, the overcast sky searing bright to her eyes.

She fell to her knees and wept. One hell traded for another.

She'd never see Hannah again. The clock was gone.

Item Description: An Ikea-brand wall clock which seems to disappear and reappear once every second.
Date of Recovery: ██-██-19██
Location of Recovery: ███████, Scotland.
Current Status: Disappeared at 1124 hours GMT on ██-██-19██. Item never materialised, presumed irretrievable.

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