Object 231

The Holder of Sympathy

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit someone who calls himself "The Holder of Sympathy". If a look of sadness comes across the worker's face, do not proceed. Flee that building and try again later. But, if a grin of satisfaction and glee comes across his or her face, then the time is right. If this happens, ask again. After finishing your query, you will immediately faint and wake up seconds later in a dark and abandoned hospital, full of dying children.

Reach into your pocket. You will find a vial. Show no sign that you hold the vial, for if the children find out, the urge will be too strong to resist. They will rip you, and each other, apart in an attempt to recover the vial. It is the only thing they desire.

After finding the vial, continue walking in the hospital. If you stray from your path, or make eye contact with any of the children, then they will immediately discover that you have the vial. This event would be quite unfortunate, and would result in your untimely death. The children will cry for your help, you must not give in. Do not look at them, do not acknowledge their presence. Ignoring them will make you hate yourself in the deepest way possible, but you must not give in.

There are multiple paths, all which lead to the same point, but it is not guaranteed that you will survive certain paths. If you are lucky, you will take a long, but safe, walk. It will seem like forever, but you will find a door at the end of your path. The children will begin to rally against you. Act quickly, and find a way to open the door.

If you succeed, the door will lead to a bright hospital room with a solitary bed and a single man lying on it. Remove the vial from your pocket and remove the cap. After doing so, a pungent scent will emanate from the vial. It will smell like formaldehyde. Be warned, the smell will make you lightheaded and the sensation will threaten to distract you from your task.

You must pour the liquid into the man's mouth. While getting close, you'll realize he is dead. He is a nice enough-looking old man, and seems to pose no threat. But as soon as you pour the substance into his mouth, look away, for if your eyes seek his, you will be trapped in those eyes forever, just another soul lost to the Holder of Sympathy. After you hear him stir behind you, you must ask, "What is the price of sympathy?" The Holder will put a hand on your shoulder, and wordlessly transmit the answer to you via memory flashes. All who have gone before you have gone mad and have been doomed to live in the hospital, begging for the poison in the vial, begging you to be their angel of mercy. Begging for sympathy. But if you survive, the man will die again, as a result of the poison, and you will make your exit with the vial which will have refilled itself.

The vial which you hold is Object 231 of 2538. Hope to any gods you may have heard of you never have to use it.