The Text by Claire Douglas has an intriguing premise—one that many of us can easily imagine ourselves in. I mean, on one hand, who hasn’t said or written something terrible during the heat of a moment? On the other hand, typos can easily lead to a disaster whether immediately corrected or not.
In this short story, Emily accidentally sends a text with a typo to the group chat with her colleagues instead of to her boyfriend. She doesn’t bother to correct herself in the chat the moment she realizes (which is stupid of her, really) and only does so when personally asked or prompted about it. What makes things worse is that her boss really does die the next day, consequently turning Emily into a suspect. Normally, this would lead off to a tale that’s just as nerve-wracking as it is intriguing, but that isn’t the case here.
The narrative, for one, is unconvincing. Although characters are seldom fleshed out in short stories, whatever traits the author chooses to emphasize and the character’s emotions are usually enough to make them realistic. However, the rushed narrative here does little to convince me that Emily is real enough to be someone I know, much less for me to care for her. Moreover, the twists—be it the way they’re revealed or the type of twist it is—are in no way surprising. I knew the ending from the beginning because it was just too obvious. This made this mystery less of the mystery it should’ve been.
I think if the author gave this more time (as in pacing and world-building), it’d be an incredibly fast-paced read that’ll leave the reader’s mind reeling. There’s no need to change the plot or to better flesh-out characters since those are fine, but it needs more emotional depth to make it more convincing and thriller-esque/suspenseful.