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 and his brothers started packing, which took a few hours. They were getting ready for a trip they weren’t sure they would return from. Ethan was restless and wanted to get on the road as soon as they were able. They had a huge trek of country ahead of them.
Earl had travelled a lot farther away than Ethan expected. The word from Preacher John was that he was being hunted by two different “interested parties”. John didn’t know the details, just that one of them was the same posse that had been lookin’ for the Jackson brother’s gang since the shooting of Tyler Smith.
The bounty for the Jackson brothers had risen considerably. This worried Ethan. He hadn’t told his brothers the bad news yet, and he wasn’t sure that he should. He didn’t know how they’d take it.
Still, Ethan felt confident he was skilled enough to keep them out of trouble for as long as it took to do what they needed to do. After that, it was going to be every man for himself. Part of Ethan wanted to stay with his brothers indefinitely, but the other part of him that was always waiting for an opportunity to find Milly again knew that he couldn’t. Finding Milly was something he had to do on his own.
During this time, Ethan felt it was important to teach his brothers some tricks he’d learned along the way as a bounty hunter. He wanted to make sure they were ready for whatever was coming. And more than anything else, he didn’t want to have to visit any more of his brother’s in graveyards.
Ethan taught his brothers everythin’ he could. Jason was a quick learner but Floyd seemed like he weren’t all that interested. Ethan didn’t wanna push it and he knew Floyd would eventually come around.
The only problem with that was they didn’t have time. Ethan felt like they were runnin’ from a trail of scorching fire, and he wanted to make damn sure that when it finally arrived, they were ready to avoid burnin’ up in it.
Ethan knew he had to talk to Floyd and found the perfect time to do it.
“You still pissed over me leavin’ ya’ll in Durham?”
Floyd shook his head.
“You sure ‘bout that brother, because I’m tryin’ to help you and Jason and”…
“Look Ethan… I get what yer doin’ and while I appreciate the gesture, we should be honest with each other. If those bounty hunters come for us, we’re gonna be in way over our heads and Floyd and I are the only two that don’t know how to kill our way out of it. You can teach us new tricks, that’s fine–but we’re not gonna be any match for skilled bounty hunters and you know it”
Ethan looked his brother square in the eyes
“Yer right, Floyd. I can only so do much for you and Jason and believe me, I thought about leavin’ a dozen times. But I made a promise I wouldn’t do that again so if I’m gonna stay, I’d rather stay knowin’ you at least had a fightin’ chance of survivin’ this”…
Floyd was studying the flame from the campfire as if he were trying to read something in the flames flickering back and forth.
“It’s okay, Ethan–yer not responsible for us or for what happens to us. We made the choice to come with you. So none of this is on you if’n it goes bad,”…
Ethan looked into the flames of the campfire for a moment. As much as he wanted to argue the point with Floyd, he knew Floyd was right. Still, Ethan made a promise, and he was gonna keep it no matter what. If that meant dyin’ to save his brother’s, he was ready.
“Let’s turn in, we got a big day tomorrow and a lot of country to get across,” Floyd said, throwing water on the campfire.
Ethan nodded, lying down on his blanket.
“Night” Floyd said
“Night” Ethan replied
But Ethan couldn’t sleep. He had too many thoughts in his head about the journey ahead and the faceless killers that were coming for them.
-END OF PART XVIII-
You can read Part XIX of Ethan’s story right here.