As Maya stands in the garage that morning, playing her guitar, she realizes that the thrown rock has done something to her. She’s no longer feeling destroyed by fear. She’s realized that “the only way to stop being afraid of the darkness out there is to find a darkness inside yourself that’s bigger.” She knows that Beartown will never give her justice, so she’ll have to get it for herself.
Maya begins to shift from passive fear to the desire to act for herself. For now, Backman leaves it ambiguous as to how she will do this—only hinting that her action will originate from “darkness.”
Maya shows up at Ana’s house, and they have an emotional reunion. Maya has just been trying to protect Ana, but Ana tells her how silly that is. Maya asks if they can go out into the forest to practice some shooting, the way they used to. She thinks it would help her relax. Ana looks at Maya and knows she’s lying, but she doesn’t ask any questions. They go into the woods and shoot for hours, laughing together again. When they get home, Maya sees a double-barreled shotgun at Ana’s and asks Ana to teach her how to use it.
Because of the opening lines of the novel, and because of the violence that’s been prevalent elsewhere, the reader begins to get the impression that Maya plans to kill Kevin.
Mr. Erdahl shows up at the Bearskin to talk to Ramona, Tails accompanying him. Ramona gives him a glass of her worst whisky. Erdahl says that the Bearskin is one of the hockey club’s longstanding sponsors, and he tells her about the upcoming meeting and the need to vote Peter out as GM. When Ramona says that Erdahl is making it sound as if his son is the victim, Erdahl loses his composure and screams that Kevin really is the victim. He’s angry that Ramona is trying to “blame this on hockey.” Ramona says that if Erdahl had played hockey himself as a kid, then he might have “learned to lose like a man” and taught his son to take some responsibility for his actions. Erdahl leaves in fury.
Erdahl continues his campaign to get people in the town on his side, voting against Peter. However, he underestimates Ramona—everything from her bad whisky to her matter-of-fact estimation of Erdahl shows she can’t be bought and that she has him figured out. Interestingly, Ramona’s words here show both the positive and negative sides of the town’s hockey culture; she indicates that while being on the hockey team is part of what made Kevin entitled, she also notes that hockey can sometimes teach its players valuable lessons.
Later Tails comes back into the Bearskin and shamefacedly tells Ramona that he’s trying not to pick a side. Ramona tells him his father would have been ashamed of him. Then he asks if Robbie Holts still visits the pub. He tells Ramona to make sure Robbie calls the store, and Tails will make sure he gets an interview.
Tails is trying to play both sides at this point, which Ramona plainly sees. Still, his kindness toward Robbie Holts indicates that Tails, like some of the other characters, is starting to confront the negative consequences of the town’s relentless emphasis on winning and loyalty.
That night, during the hockey club meeting, Maya stands in the shelter of the woods and watches Kevin running around the illuminated jogging track. She times his laps and holds an imaginary rifle, even though she’s shaking: “One of them is going to die. She still hasn’t decided who.”
At this point, it’s unclear what Maya’s plan is—if she really does intend to murder Kevin, or if she’s going to commit suicide instead.