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 unaware that Milly had the location of his homestead, and while she was in the area, she decided she wanted to see the place where the killers of her parents grew up.
Milly didn’t expect she’d feel anythin’ other than anger comin’ to Ethan’s home. But that isn’t what happened. Milly got off her horse, and the dog was already headin’ towards the front door. Milly took out her pistols, but she could tell nobody was there.
The homestead didn’t quite look abandoned–it looked like the brothers had been fixin’ it up some which it surely needed.
Milly entered the house, and a flood of memories overwhelmed her. She walked through the house, lookin’ for any sign of Ethan in the few belonging’s scattered around the various rooms. Then she recognised somethin’–Ethan’s jacket. With the warmer weather, she figured Ethan weren’t needin’ it. But she could tell that Ethan had been there and was most likely comin’ back.
Milly went into his room and took in every little detail. Then she walked over to his jacket, hangin’ off the door. She took it into her hands and pressed it slowly to her face. His scent was just as she remembered it. Tears were forming in Milly’s eyes and instead of fightin’ them back like she always did, she let them fall. Reaching down into her pocket, she took out the old bandanna she used to wear when she was part of Ethan’s gang… when she was part of him. She slowly wiped her tears with the bandanna and pushed it way down into Ethan’s jacket pocket. She didn’t know if he’d ever find it, but she felt like that bandanna was the last thing she had of him cept’ for the dog. The dog was well and truly Milly’s now, and this… this was just an old piece of material. At least that’s what she told herself–anythin’ to avoid fallin’ into a heap on the floor and cryin’ her eyes out.
The time for cryin’ over Ethan was over. Milly silently promised herself she would never cry over Ethan Jackson ever again. And even as she made that promise, she weren’t sure she could keep it, but she was gonna try really damn hard.
She carefully placed the jacket back in the same spot, stared at it for a moment longer and then made her way out of the house, her dog followin’ close behind.
Ethan and his brothers finally made it back home the followin’ day after spendin’ a drunken night at Fran’s saloon. With aching heads and stinging eyes, Jason and Floyd got off their horses and headed for their rooms to sleep it off. But Ethan was wide awake, and he had a lot of reasons for it. From the sounds of it, Milly was alive, that much he was certain of. And second, she had spent some time in Callan Ridge, a day or two according to Fran. Maybe she felt like she needed to stop runnin’. Ethan understood completely. But knowing that she was there, in his hometown, gave him a sense of somethin’ like hope that he had had little of. He knew it weren’t wise to assume anythin’ but it was somethin’.
Ethan was prepared to wait a day for his brothers to feel ready to move out again. It wouldn’t be for long assumin’ John’s information was good. Part of Ethan couldn’t wait to get back out there, but part of him was afraid of what he might find. He knew that if this killer were targeting the gang, Milly could be in trouble. And he would never forgive himself if something happened to her and he weren’t there to stop it. In fact, he would make it his mission to end that person’s life. Nuthin’ else mattered but gettin’ to her and keepin’ her safe.
Here he was again, makin’ promises he didn’t know he could even keep. But he hadn’t faltered on a one of ‘em yet and he wasn’t about to start now.
Wherever Milly was, Ethan was gonna find her.
-END OF PART XXVII-
You can read Part XXVIII of Ethan’s story right here.