Short Story - Western
Lake of Fire arose from a discussion on what I like to call the persistant negativity of short fiction. The idea being that the shorter a work is the worse it tends to turn out for the characters involved - and that's the way we like it. Not because we are ghouls thriving on the misfortunes of others but because the human imagination exists to keep us out of trouble, preferably by seeing it before it hits, and so it gravitates towards stories of disaster.
So here is Lake of Fire, a story which seems to be the weakest "Choose your own Adventure" on the planet. It has four optional endings, in each case the good decision brings the story to a premature end while the bad decision continues the story onwards (and quite honestly too).
Does it prove my point?
I'm not sure.
The first ending does. It's weak. It shows us why good stories do not come from people making the right choices. The third ending is the bleakest. For me this was the worst possible outcome. The second ending felt the best. It shows hope for short fiction which ends on a positive note (although would it be as satisfying if you didn't know just how far south the story could have gone?). And the fourth ending - the actual ending of the story - that one is just plain badass.
Which one works best for you?
Well, you're just going to have to read and find out.