This prompt is based off a group of friends in one of my stories who had a hard choice to make when they were younger that still had repercussions in the present day. In the story there is an item that was cursed to make anyone who touched it or touched someone who had touched it went crazy to the point of extreme paranoia and attempts at suicide.
If you can survive the first twenty-four hours things get a little easier, but only a little. And if you can survive a week you are about as home free as you are likely to get since at that point you are most likely to be dealing with depression or extreme melancholy. It’s not good, but it’s better.
When one of these friends started looking for this item because he was a collector interested in it for it’s looks, not knowing the problems it could cause, one of his friends looked into the history of the item and finding it to have a very problematic history tried to stop him. He went in search of it anyway and his friends were faced with a big problem when they realized just how true the one friend’s research was.
For them there wasn’t a question, they couldn’t let their friend kill himself and so they didn’t. Two of the friends tied him up and then quickly tied themselves up so that they would be safe from themselves once the curse took effect and they waited with the fourth friend guarding them and made sure they stayed fed. They waited eight days because of the research the one friend had done with the extra day just to be safe and eventually it became clear that they were less crazy and the fourth friend took the risk of untying them. He was not cursed, because with the all the time they had let pass, so was the ability to pass on the intense desire to hurt one’s self.
It wasn’t as if it was life as usual for them after that. All three of the ones affected were still affected, just to a lesser degree. For one of them that meant he eventually broke down and was put in a place to help with his mental health. For another that meant that while he was around his children, he couldn’t hold down a job and he didn’t really care to be around most people. For the one who started it all, he ended up doing all right for himself, being the general manager of a local department store at the time of the story this is in, but still not all right and feeling guilty about what his friends did to save him. For the final person, though not cursed he became obsessed with making sure this stayed out of the hands of anyone else, since they had no way to destroy it, and did even more research into it than the initial friend did. They all lived with this for two decades until someone finally found a way to break the curse and set them all free of it.
So that’s where the idea came from, but now it’s your turn. You don’t have to stick with the number in the prompt, that’s just what I did, but what would cause such a situation for your characters and how will they resolve it? Or will they?