Chapter 22: A deal signed in pencil

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The car finally shifted from bitumen to dirt. Max and Jamie left the highway well behind, along with the searching eyes of the police. They felt secure to now have trees flashing by them, while they ventured further into the forest. The sounds of nature were echoing around them, instead of the drone of cars and beeping horns.

It had been a quiet ride. They had not spoken much since they left the house. Both men had either been stunned into silence by what they had found or Max was concentrating hard on what he would ask Magnifique. The tapes spread over their back seat hopefully contained the evidence that they were looking for. It was quite possible that the Mayor's ruthless campaign of murder had been taped. They could finally have the ammunition to bring him down.

A sudden feeling of nausea dug deep into Max's gut when they reached the cabin. This was the final resting place of Stewart Davies, his good friend and he had not been back since his death. He knew horrible memories existed here now, mixed in with good ones from his childhood. His sanctuary had turned into a guilt retreat, still with busted windows from the raid over a year ago. Max would find it hard to walk inside its cold, hollow walls, but vindication was awaiting him in the form of Magnifique.

"Where have you been?" Grant shouted, while bounding out the front door.

"We had to stop somewhere first," Jamie answered him.

"Where?"

Max raised his head into the sunlight and exited the car. He exchanged a smile with his colleague, who responded with an agitated voice.

"What are you so happy about?" Grant growled, finding his positive demeanour infuriating.

"I found it Sam," Max revealed, "I found the evidence to get the Mayor."

His head disappeared for a brief second, before he reappeared with a large bag wrapped around his shoulder.

"What did you find?" Grant asked anxiously.

Max ignored the question, instead posing another.

"Where's Magnifique?"

"She's inside. Answer me, what did you find?"

The DA's impetuous mood continued when Max passed by his colleague without speaking. He did not respond until he placed his first step on the wooden front stairs.

"All will be revealed in a second my friend."

A darkness suddenly enveloped him when he stepped under the shadow of the roof and walked through the front door. His vision immediately centered in on Magnifique, seated in the corner on a rickety old chair. There were no pleasantries exchanged, instead Max hit her with a direct statement.

"I found your little secret room."

Her head rose, after hearing his voice.

"What are you talking about?" she responded.

"Money was your password. I found your little room."

Magnifique's face deadened with shock, like a shadow encased it. She thought that she had misheard the DA for a second, but the righteous look on his face only reaffirmed his words. Her throat suddenly constricted, making it hard to speak.

"I can explain."

Max's sharp voice cut her off immediately.

"You don't need to explain. I know everything. You don't have any powers? You're a charlatan. Your insight came from video cameras, not some earthly sense."

"What do you mean?" Grant asked, after also making his way into the room.

"Jamie and I found a secret room in her house," Max responded, finally revealing all to his colleague, "she has cameras and bugs planted in the offices of the Mayor, Police Commissioner, Dover and a thug named Corione, as well. I'm guessing Gerrard helped you with that?"

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