Arran's Law

Chanelle's boyfriend Arran is accused of murder, and she goes on a one woman mission to clear his name.

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5. Murder - Chanelle

It's the sound of the sirens that wakes me up. Normally, the sirens are far away, racing over to the East side of the estate, the side that has one of the highest murder rates in the world. But not today. Today, the sirens are so much closer. Actually, the sirens sound like they're right outside. And it sounds like it isn't just an ambulance. I can pick up the distinctive sound of a police car, and of a fire engine. All three sirens are blaring so loud my ears hurt. The sirens come together to make a horrible chorus. It is, without a shred of doubt, the worst sound in the world. I want to cover my ears and scream until my throat bleeds so I can drown out that sound. But I can't do that. I'd never be able to live with myself if I didn't try to help who ever it is that's hurt. And I have a horrible feeling in my gut. Instinct? Woman's intuition? Whatever it is, it's not something that I can ignore.

 

I sit up, my head throbbing in time with my heart beat. I fiercely rub my eyes, and move my hair out of my eyes I look at the window, and see the red and blue flashes of the lights from emergency sevices vehicles. It looks like a kind of laser show, the kind you'd see in a nightclub.

"Arran?" I say, my voice thick from sleep. If someone needs help, then I need his help. I can fight, but I'm not as strong as he is. And I can't go without him. "Arran, baby, I think there's something going on outside." No answer. Maybe he's still asleep. But how could he sleep through that racket? I reach behind me to shake him, not taking my eyes off the window and the 'laser show' that's going on outside. Instead of Arran's warm body, I find nothing but the cold covers. I turn around, my heart pounding, hoping that he's just rolled right over to the edge of the bed, or maybe fallen out. But I don't see that. What I see is a neatly made bed. Arran's gone.

 

My heart stops, and my blood turns to ice in my veins. The sirens only go off that loudly when there's been a murder. What if...? Could it be? Don't be stupid, Chanelle, I tell myself. Arran's probably already up. But how come the covers are so cold, like he's been gone for hours? Then I see a flash of white against the deep red of Arran's pillow. A note. I hastily reach over, and grab it.

Nelly,

Just gone out for a bit to clear my head - had some things to think about. I'll be back soon.

I love you.

Arran xxx

 

The wave of fear that crashes over me is so strong that my vision blurs, and I think I'm about to collapse. The note is sweet, but Arran never wrote 'I love you' at the end of a note. He said it sounded too final. Oh God... My breathing speeds up, and my head spins even more. I'm so so scared. What if it is Arran? My life will fall apart, and there will be nothing to live for - except revenge. Revenge on whoever killed Arran. If it's him. If. If it is Arran, then I need to get to him - and fast.

 

I leap to my feet, and throw my clothes on at top speed. I run a brush through my hair, ignoring the pain as I rip some of my hair out at the roots. I'm about to run out of the room, when I see Arran's hoodie lying on the floor. I can't find my own hoodie, so on an impulse, I pull his on. It smells of Hugo Boss aftershave, and Lynx deodorant, and... Arran. For a second, it feels like Arran has his arms around me, telling me it's all going to be alright. Without hesitating any more, I run out of the flat, and down the stairs, nearly falling headfirst down the stairs in my haste.

 

I throw my full body weight at the main entrance/exit, and literally crash into the street. What meets my eyes is not what I expected. A house is on fire, only just down the street. Only one room of the house seems to be engulfed in flames, and it's not completely destroyed. So what's the big idea? Why are the police and the ambulance here if it's only one room? Then I remember why I'm here, and I'm ashamed that I ever forgot - Arran.

 

I start running down the street. I'm a fast runner, but today it feels like even a snail could overtake me no problem. My shoes stick to the pavement, and every crack tries to trip me up. Every step seems to last a lifetime, and I'm nearly crying in frustration. Why can't I run faster? It could be Arran who's hurt - and he needs me.

 

When I finally make it to the burning house, I see that I'm not the only one who wants to know what's going on. A small crowd has gathered behind the police tape. Fire fighters have the blaze under control, and the police are only working on keeping the crowd back. The ambulance sits there redundantly. I skid to a halt, nearly falling flat on my face.

"What the hell happened?" I ask whoever will listen. A tall guy turns around. His hair is a light brown, and his eyes are a bright blue. He's not one of Jordan's crew. Carter's crew, maybe? Or maybe one of the others? He seems oddly familiar, but I can't put a name to his face.

"Someone killed Miranda Lockhart, and tried to burn down the house - unsuccessfully, obviously." He tells me. My knees are weak with relief at the same time my stomach drops from fear. Like I said - if Miranda got herself killed, then the gangs would start picking on all the other girls. Like me. But I shake it off, just relieved that it's not Arran.

"Was anyone else hurt?" I enquire, Arran still on my mind. The guy shakes his head, and I struggle to remain standing.

"But they've arrested a guy for killing her." He says. He gives me a sympathetic look. Fear suddenly has me in it's cold grasp again. It can't be... He wouldn't. He couldn't. He didn't like her, but he wouldn't kill her... Would he? I swallow hard, and look this guy in the eye.

"Who?" I ask. I try to keep my voice steady, but you can hear the fear beneath the calm.

"You sure you want to hear?" I stomp my foot angrily.

"Tell me!" He gives me another sympathetic look.

"Arran Mackenzie."

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