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 told his brothers about what happened while they were sleeping.
Jason found it amusing, but Floyd seemed a little on edge about it.
“Was he alone?” Floyd said
“Maybe–I walked round the house a couple times after. Nobody else was around,” Ethan replied.
“Why’d they send a kid on after us?” Jason said
Ethan shrugged. He hadn’t really thought on it, but it seemed a little strange to send someone as inexperienced as that out after hardened outlaws like the Jackson brothers.
“Maybe a scout… the kid was makin’ so much noise there ain’t no way he was trained… maybe it was a decoy” Ethan said
“To distract us?” Jason said
“If that’s what they’re up to, that means somethin’ else must be happenin’ and we ain’t seen it” Floyd said
“Quiet! I heard somethin’”
The brothers turned around to see if they could hear anything. Floyd walked up to the window and dragged the curtain back.
“ALRIGHT boys… we know yer in there. Come on out with yer hands up and we won’t make any trouble for ya,” a voice yelled from outside the farmhouse.
The brothers looked at each other
“God dammit… Floyd grab yer pistols–Jason the shot gun now!” Ethan shouted
The brothers scattered throughout the house
Ethan took the front entrance, and Floyd and Jason the back, just like they planned
If it came down to it, Floyd and Jason were to go below to a secret hatch under the house that lead out past the farmhouse and away from whatever was comin’ for them. And the rest was up to Ethan to deal with. The brothers weren’t happy about it, but Ethan wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“I hear ya Sheriff… and I’m tellin’ ya that we coulda’ done some real damage to that boy ya sent up after us and we didn’t – I let him go… we don’t want no bloodshed now but we ain’t comin’ out”…
The Sheriff didn’t reply.
“You see anythin’ down there?” Ethan called out to his brothers.
“I ain’t seen nuthin’ on my side” Jason said
“Ethan… they’ve got fire lit torches–they’re gonna smoke us out!” Floyd yelled back
Ethan fell against the wall and lifted his hat off his head for a moment. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. This was it–this is the moment the brothers had been waiting for.
Ethan opened his eyes again and gathered his senses about him.
“We all know what to do. Pick up that there rug and open up the hatch–we ain’t got no way outta this now ‘cept through the tunnel”
Floyd and Jason did as Ethan said and moved the old rug that was covering up the entrance down to the underground tunnel. This was one of the major reasons the Jackson brothers chose this place to hold up in. They spent a good long while over the years digging that tunnel for this exact situation.
“Well, looks like ya gone and forced our hand now boys–we’re gonna get’cha outta that farmhouse one way or another!” yelled the Sheriff
Floyd lifted the hatch, and the brothers took one more look at each other.
“Go on now” Ethan said
“We’ll see ya soon, Ethan,”
Jason went down the hatch with Floyd right after.
Ethan could see the men surrounding the farmhouse, all of them with torches to set fire to the house.
He knew his only way out was through the hatch or straight through a group of five, maybe six men holdin’ guns out the front.
Ethan picked up his pistols and swung them into an upward position. He was gonna take out as many of them as he could so his brothers could get away. And then he’d leave the house if he were still alive the same way they did.
He took a deep breath and slowly took aim. The men outside weren’t prepared for Ethan. And he was gonna be sending these men home dead in a box. He didn’t like it, but fate had forced his hand and he knew he could out-gun any of the men out there.
One by one, Ethan took aim on the posse outside the farmhouse and one by one those men fell. Only one of ‘em shot off a bullet that narrowly missed Ethan’s head.
Ethan could see the men panicking and running in all directions
The Sheriff gave the word to throw alcohol onto the already searing flames surrounding half the house. Ethan turned around to see what was happenin’ out back, and he could still see a clear path through the flames to the hatch.
It was now or never.
-END OF PART XXI-
You can read Part XXII of Ethan’s story right here.