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 figured it was time he bought new pistols with the money he had made claiming bounties. One of his pistols was locking up something awful, and he just knew that one day, that was gonna mean the difference between living or dying. And he couldn’t take that chance. He had made a few friends in the bounty circles, not men he would ever trust mind you, but they gave him friendly advice and didn’t steer him wrong when it came to learning the code.
Bounty hunters are like a tribe–they’re close-knit and secretive and it took Ethan a long while to break through that secrecy. When he finally did, he realised just how much he didn’t know about hunting. Bounty hunting was about as difficult as it sounds–it ain’t all about killing neither. It’s about knowing who you’re hunting and making sure nobody else is after the same bounty. That can cause some tricky situations and as a bounty hunter, you’re paid to solve the client’s problem, not add to it. And if you can’t be the solution, they’ll quickly hire someone else. They don’t care how it’s done or who does it just as long as someone does. Unless of course, it’s for a specific client. Not all the bounties were available the legal way–some hunters did jobs on the side that were more specific and paid better than the jobs that usually went to a posse. But Ethan wasn’t interested in that and he wasn’t really doing this for the money either. And that made Ethan different to almost every other bounty hunter out there.
Word was getting around the bounty hunter circles that this new kid known only as “Will” was racking up kills a little quicker than a new hunter should. When Ethan got word of this, he decided it would be wise to slow down a little. And as much as any delays annoyed him, he wasn’t willing to push the matter. Ethan figured someone down there was looking out for Earl and giving him more days to live than he deserved. But there was nothing he could do about that now. It was follow the code or die.
And the buying of bounty hunter weapons was also part of the code–bounty hunters were very selective about the weapons they used. Every hunter had a unique method, and some used different weapons–not all of them used guns. There were at least two hunters that Ethan knew of that specialised in killing with knives. He thought that was pretty crazy, but he had used his knife too many times to disregard it. In the right circumstances, the knife was the perfect weapon to kill someone with.
But Ethan’s skill was with guns, and he knew that from an early age when his brothers would go shootin’ on their family farm. Even back then, Ethan showed promise with a gun. He was out shooting his brothers as soon as he was big enough to hold a pistol. He didn’t learn how to use the knife until much later on when he became friends with Running Elk.
He thought about his friend briefly and then about Milly. Those two were connected in his mind. Ethan swore he would find Milly, but his priority was getting Earl. And since it was only him calling the shots now and not his brothers, Ethan was certain that it wouldn’t be long before he would find out where Earl was hiding. And Ethan got a little excited just thinking about it.
As he glanced at the weapons on offer from the weapon smith, his eyes fixated on an identical pair of pistols with silver plates inlaid into the handles of each gun. Ethan had found his new weapons.
-END OF PART X-
You can read Part XI of Ethan’s story right here.