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 he’d been riding half a day just like the woman said but he still couldn’t locate the homestead on the map. He looked high and low and spent a couple hours traversing the area – no homestead.
This annoyed Ethan something awful. He got off his horse, took his hat off his head and whacked it against his thigh. He stood there in the rain, letting it soak him to the bone. He looked around and couldn’t make out anything on the count of the rain falling so hard. Maybe he’d taken a wrong turn somewhere. The rain was making it difficult to see the makeshift road he was followin’. He figured he’d have to double back and look for the pathway off the main road which was supposed to lead right to Earl’s homestead.
He got back on his horse, put on his hat which was now as wet as everything else and turned back down the path. He rode for another 30 minutes and still couldn’t find the path on the woman’s map.
“Dammit all to hell!” he cursed to himself
He sat there, motionless on his horse, the rain trickling down his face, across his lips and down his neck. He could feel it running down his back and it felt comforting. He closed his eyes then and thought of Milly.
Whenever he felt anger coming on, he’d think back to those earlier days of him and Milly Runnin’ with the gang and feelin’ like they could do just about anything. It was something he hadn’t done in a long while–sit and think of the past he wished he could somehow find a way back to.
Ethan slowly opened his eyes, and with that, the dream was over. The past made him feel better, even when he was at his loneliest which wasn’t all that often. But when it came on, it was somethin’ wicked and hungry, etching its way down to his gut and makin’ a hollow feeling right there. It was like an endless darkness he could just fall into.
Ethan clenched his teeth, pulled on his horse and kept riding and he wouldn’t stop until he found the path to Earl’s homestead.
He didn’t think of what he might find when he finally found Earl. Ethan was hellbent on getting to him, but the consequences of doing so never mattered to him. He had doubts, but they were questions he didn’t wanna answer.
What if Earl was waiting for Ethan? What if he wasn’t alone and had a gang of his own ready to jump Ethan and kill him dead? Ethan’s mind went to these places sometimes, but only for a second. Part of him was okay with meeting his end if it meant he had done what he had to do first so his brother could rest in peace. But there was another part of him, a much larger part that didn’t wanna let go of seeing Milly again. And to do that, he would have to kill Earl and survive it no matter what.
As he was thinkin’ on this, he pulled on his horse’s reins just in time to catch the small, hidden path winding downward away from the main valley road. He had missed it the first time alright, but only once.
Ethan steadied his horse, pulled it back around and rode like the devil himself was after him.
-END OF PART XIII-
You can read Part XIV of Ethan’s story right here.