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I don't feel you were mistaken including all four challenge objects. I think you truly felt that was the challenge. I could be wrong. Anyway, in doing so I feel it took away from this story as you really had something interesting going on with those dice. I liked that part a lot. But the opening took away from it, and you really never had time to fully develop the significance of the dice, which would have been great. And not a fan of the ending either. But overall, pretty good!
New comments now that I understand it was okay to have all four elements: But -- why do it that way? It just added to the muddle. I like the premise involving the biblical stone dice, and this looked like it might be a good story. Alas, it did not come to pass.
Also, little things irritated me: Use of lacklusterly and genuflect. Describing the stone dice as weather-beaten. What, left outside? Weren't they gathering dust in the Vatican? Confusion over the meaning of "one" and "two" and some questions that didn't fit the will-happen, won't-happen responses, such Blue Elephant and Mother's Name. Trivializing use of Steve Bannon, Super Bowl.
So these dice can tell you if something is true or false. Murphy first tests this by asking silly questions like, there are too many blue elephants and is Murphy a woman. Dice tells him false. He starts asking questions he knows are true and the dice agree. He asks if Steve Bannon will be president and gets a TRUE. Shudder!!!! Would've been a rather scary thought, but since he's no longer a player in the WH, it fell flat.
I enjoyed it. Just would've had a better punch if Bannon was still on the scene.
A priest hanging himself with a jump rope seems kind of...bizarre. It just doesn't seem significant in any way aside from the fact that his aides were using it to play, and then it aided in his suicide.
There was a couple time where it seemed like the writer was taking words straight out of a thesaurus without reading to see how it blended in with the sentence as a whole, mostly in the first page.
Definitely not a drama, and I think the only thing that hit me as intriguing was that no answer earned a one. because in an infinite universe, no matter what the situation is, there is always a minuscule chance of anything happening. I don't know if that's what you meant, but I liked it anyways.
There is a certain amount of misdirection here that stifles your story. What I like are the biblical elements, the stone dice, the telling of the future stuff. Forget the jump rope and Steve Bannon.
So the Cardinal stole the dice because he "needed to know." I was unclear what specifically he needed to know, and how the dice played a part in this knowledge. what's confusing is that the Cardinal explains what he needed to know, by saying the dice can foretell the future? Right. So he didn't need to know, really. He just needed the dice. Like the golden egg vs. the goose that lays the golden egg.
Another puzzler for me is that the dice seem to have led to the Cardinal's downfall. And ultimate suicide. So why is he passing along the dice to Pastor Murphy? He doesn't issue any warning, but almost a blessing to Murphy. Cardinal: "You are the one, Jim."
What does the Cardinal foresee Murphy doing? Interesting, but confusing.
Maybe Murphy is entrusted to "return" the dice to the Vatican. But like Adam, he gives in to temptation. And once he rolls the dice, he ain't rolling back.
Reminds me some of the Twilight Zone episode, Nick of Time, with William Shatner.
This is a flawed piece of work, but so intriguing. Writer, you should clean it up and reintroduce.