Author’s Note: This is Part II in Book I of my series Tales of the West. You may read Part I: “Milly” here.
Genres: Fiction – Western/Action/Romance
Please be aware this story has elements of violence, gun violence, murder and death.
Ethan played by Boyd Holbrook
Ethan was desperate to make money. So he turned to the only thing he really knew how to do and that was kill. Ethan Jackson became “Will” after his father’s name, and Ethan Jackson was no more–at least not while Ethan was working as a bounty hunter. It also helped to make sure that if the posse were on his trail, it’d soon go cold when Ethan Jackson disappeared.
Ethan took to bounty hunting like a duck to water. He thought it was amusing when he came across a bounty out on him and his brothers. The Jackson brothers had never been seen without their hats and bandanna’s on while doin’ a job. So the law really didn’t know who they were looking for. And it seemed Earl had done little of anything to change that. This worked in Ethan’s favour. And now he was privy to information only the law could know. So he used his contacts to try to track down Milly and Earl, but both came back dead cold.
Ethan kinda liked his new “job”. It sure beat making the peanuts they used to make robbing general stores. Ethan was making quite the little money stash and getting good at hunting these men and dealing out the justice they deserved. Most of these men were too difficult to track or too dangerous for local law men to go after. Ethan was making cash doing the job of the good guys because they weren’t skilled or gutsy enough to do it themselves. And if there was one thing that became clear to Ethan as he put one man after the other in their graves, it was that death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to a man. In fact, death under certain situations could be a blessing.
Nuthin’ was guaranteed in this world – except death. And Ethan had a newfound respect for what death could provide. He never thought of it that way before, but death was final. Nothing could cheat death when it came for you. The only thing Ethan cared about now was delivering that to the one man he knew truly deserved it.
Ethan decided he needed to find out what he could about where Milly’s parents were buried. He figured that might be a way he could pick up her trail again, or at least find other members of her family who could help. And that meant that after almost six months, he’d be headed back towards Old Miller Farm and back to Milly’s hometown.
And then there was the matter of his brother. Ethan needed to find out where they buried him. And that wasn’t too hard to do once he found the right person for the right price. Ethan discovered that his brother Holden was buried in an unmarked grave in an unkempt graveyard just north of Durham. It surprised him to hear they buried him. Ethan expected worse for a wanted man.
Ethan rode out to the graveyard as soon as he found the location.
He walked around the graveyard which looked more like an abandoned mining site than a graveyard. But there were headstones plotted about the area, left and forgotten by almost everyone and everything but time.
He finally located his brother’s grave, and it looked odd amongst all the neglected graves nearby.
It felt strange standing there looking down at his brother, now six feet under in a box. It didn’t hurt the same way it did when it happened. Nothing hurt as badly as that.
Ethan casually threw a bunch of flowers he had gathered on the way onto his brother’s grave.
The rain had been threatening to fall all afternoon, and when it finally did, Ethan didn’t move an inch. He stood there, looking down at his brother’s grave, quietly praying to anyone that would listen that he was sorry for what happened. He was pretty sure his brother wouldn’t have held him responsible if he could talk from beyond the grave. But Ethan felt the pain of his loss deeply and knew what needed to be done to remedy things in his heart and his soul.
And while Ethan wasn’t really the religious type, even though he was brought up by god-fearing parents, he was pretty sure his brother was in heaven and not the other place. And come hell or high water, Ethan would never stop looking for Earl, and he pitied the man that tried to get in his way.
-END OF PART IX-
You can read Part X of Ethan’s story right here.