SMS looked at Pavelec critically. “Why would the Laurentians be scared of you?”
“Yeah,” snorted Brenda. “You don’t intimidate me much…”
Pavelec glared at Bailey. “Scared of what and who I know,” she said.
“What do you know?” prodded SMS. “What aren’t you telling us?”
“That’s my private business.”
“Hey, I’ve been getting shot at all day, too,” said SMS. “We’re working together, remember. If these guys are after you for some reason, I deserve to know what I’m involved in.”
Pavelec dropped off the hood of her car and stalked back and forth across the headlights a few times, scratching the back of her head.
“Talk to me, Pavelec,” demanded SMS.
Pavelec ignored him and continued to pace.
SMS stepped up to the RCMP agent and got in her face. “Something else is going on, here, I can see that. We aren’t just helping you work on a murder case. This is about more than Walter Carton, isn’t it? So what’s the missing piece?”
“Shut up and let me think,” snapped Pavelec, turning her back on him.
“Fill me in,” SMS persisted. “Is it Levi St. Laurent? Maybe something to do with that other special you told Jovo about, the one who can give people super speed? ‘Olivia,’ right?”
Pavelec spun around and stuck a finger in SMS’s chest. “Olivia is mine,” she growled. “Don’t even think about her without my permission. You’d better watch yourself…” And then her eyes glazed and she looked over his shoulder into the trees. “Watching,” she mumbled.
“What?” said SMS.
The agent spoke quickly and quietly to herself, in bits and fragments. “The investigation… Watching in… Someone inside…” She grabbed SMS’s shoulder. “When did I mention Olivia’s name?”
“At the Hole,” said SMS. “When you were telling Jovo how to get in touch with her.”
Pavelec seemed half-crazed. “Did I give Jovo the phone number? Did that piece of paper end up in her hands?”
“I don’t remember,” said SMS. “Maybe… What’s going on?”
Releasing SMS, Pavelec took up her pacing again. She put her hands in her pockets and mimed taking out her notepad and writing on it, retracing her actions. “I did,” she said, shaking her head. “I put it right in her hands, and she left it on the table before she went into the kitchen. And then we ran…” She stopped abruptly. “You two, get in the car.”
“What?” said Bailey.
“Why?” said SMS.
“In the car!” said Pavelec again. “SMS, give me the keys. I’m driving.”
SMS tossed her the keys and somewhat reluctantly crawled into the back seat of the car. “Where are we going?”
“Tell you on the way,” said Pavelec, yanking her door open.
“What about him?” asked Bailey, nodding towards Pavit, who was still tied up at the foot of the tree, looking cold and confused.
“Oh, right,” said SMS. “I’ll grab him.”
“Leave him,” said Pavelec. “He can find his own way home.”
“Are you sure?” said SMS. “He might still be useful.” And I don’t know how long it might be before I can get out here and free him, he thought to himself. I don’t need him on my conscience.
Brenda added, “Plus he’s been listening in on our entire conversation. Are you sure you want to just set him loose?”
With one leg already in the car, Pavelec said, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
SMS was already halfway out of the car to collect the tied-up gangster when Pavelec raised her pistol casually and put two bullets through the man’s chest. “There,” she said. “Problem solved.”
SMS’s jaw fell open and he stared blankly as Pavit sprawled over against the tree, stone dead.
“SMS, get in,” Pavelec snarled, starting the engine.
In utter shock, SMS obeyed, slumping into the back seat and limply pulling the door closed behind him. Pavelec threw the car into reverse and hammered the gas, spraying what was now a corpse with a shower of pine needles and dirt. They took off back towards the highway, hurtling over the dirt roads at breakneck speed, jolting over the pot holes.
Soon the car roared out onto the highway and Pavelec pointed them back towards the city. “SMS,” barked Pavelec, “get Innis on the phone right now.”
The sight of Pavit jerking with the impact of the bullets was still painted across the back of SMS’s eyes as he obeyed the command out of absent habit. He dialed Innis’s number in his head distractedly, barely feeling the call buzz out through his jaw and ear. He was already on the fourth of Innis’s usual five rings before he realized that he hadn’t yet taken out his decoy phone to hide his ability from Pavelec. He quickly withdrew it from his pocket, just before Innis answered.
“What now?” said Innis.
“He’s dead,” said SMS.
“Jovo’s man. The witness.”
“He told us what he knew, and then she killed him.”
“Who did? Pavelec?”
“Thought she might, when she was done with him,” said Innis. “She’s a nasty piece of work, that woman. A real dishonour to the badge. My kind of cop. Having Bailey around probably didn’t help much, eh?”
“No, it didn’t,” said SMS. But even as he said the words he wasn’t sure he believed them. Whether Brenda Bailey had had anything to do with it or not, there was no excuse for what Pavelec had just done. She’d shot Pavit in cold blood.