McCredited WM November 2023


05 October 2023
Read James McCreet's suggested rewrite for this month's Under the Microscope

Maggie Shields knew from a young age that her mind wasn’t normal. It was filled with concerns that were different to your average seventeen-year-old. Her hometown pals on Scotland’s East coast were preparing for uni or packing rucksacks for a year in the jungle. Those from the ‘rougher’ side of town (Maggie’s side) were either job hunting or chasing proposals before any ‘stupid wee accidents’ were announced. If she could have chosen her start in life, none of these would have appealed to Maggie. She had no time for trapping local boys into playing happy families before they’d had time to ‘Go pure radge.’ It wasn’t just lack of ambition that set her apart. Her thoughts felt out of sync: heavy and sludgy and exhausting every day. With each passing year, she felt a little more determined to run from her own mind.
Maggie’s source of all physical comfort in 1994 was the two-bedroom home she shared and struggled to afford with her older brother Lochie. There wasn’t a time in her life that he hadn’t been there for her. Lochie was the only constant in her world. The thought of ever living without him could immobilise her with fear. He had been her problem-solver and her protector since the moment their childhood had been taken.
Lochie hid his face from her as he opened the pile of brown envelopes in the kitchen one October morning with ice thickly opaque on the inside of the window panes.



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