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 Lincoln made their way to the top of the rise as quietly as they could. And when they looked down, they could see just how many men were outside the hideout.
“There’s a lot of men there, Ethan–how we gonna get Jason and Floyd out?” Lincoln said.
Ethan stood there thinkin’ on that very thing. And there was only one way to do it. He would have to create as much of a distraction as possible so his brothers could shoot their way out.
It was risky, and it weren’t gonna be easy, but it was better than dyin’.
Ethan told Lincoln that he had a task for him too. Lincoln would have to make his way down the other side of the rise and into the back of the house to tell his brothers to go through the front and not the back. He told Lincoln that as soon as they heard a commotion to come out shootin’.
There was no way they could get back up the hill as the ridge was too steep to climb. So their only way out was through the front, and Ethan had to make sure they knew the plan.
Lincoln slowly made his way in the dark towards the other side of the rise and then down the side to the back of the house.
He ran to the back door, covered in dirt and god knows what else, and knocked on the door.
Thankfully, Jason was right there and lifted his head up to check who it was.
He slowly opened the door and let Lincoln in.
“Where the hell did you come from?” Jason said.
“They got the place surrounded and Ethan’s still outside in position on the rise above. He told me to tell you not to go out the back but to shoot our way out the front and he’ll pick off the posse from behind with his rifle,” Lincoln said, out of breath.
“He wants us to shoot our way out the front?”
“Yessir, that’s what he told me to tell ya both,” Lincoln said
“Okay… let’s get as much ammo as we can carry and the rifles and pistols,” Floyd said
The boys made themselves busy picking up whatever they could carry.
They positioned themselves near each of the windows at the front of the house and waited for the sign from Ethan to come on out, guns blazing.
Ethan was in the best spot he could get with his rifle aimed at the men closest to him. He’d pick them off one by one as long as they stood next to their torches. If they moved away from the torches, it would be impossible for him to hit them in the dark.
But the men weren’t all that smart, and they were carrying torches all the way around the house lookin’ for ways to get in.
Ethan got into position, took a deep breath and lifted his rifle to aim at the first unlucky target. Ethan started shootin’ and was hittin’ every target and pushing the posse into pandemonium–which was, of course, the very thing he wanted to do.
The men started shoutin’ at each other that there was someone up on the rise shootin’ them down.
The Sheriff gave the order to fire at the house and the hillside, but that was a mistake. The posse had no idea what was goin’ on. And that was the cue for the Jackson gang to come on out.
“That’s it–Ethan’s shootin’ at them, let’s go!” Floyd said gettin’ up
Jason and Lincoln followed Floyd through the front door, shootin’ at anythin’ that moved.
Ethan was still pickin’ off the men standin’ near their lit torches, but they were too spread out now for him to hit the targets reliably.
He picked up his rifle, went back to his horse and backtracked to the primary route into the hideout and made his way towards the entrance with his pistol ready.
The Sheriff could see the men were afraid. There was nothin’ he could do to rally them together. The posse didn’t know whether to shoot in front of them or behind. Some men were so scared, they just up and left.
But not all the hired guns were afraid of the Jackson Brothers. Eli had a grin on his face from ear to ear as the chaos unfolded in front of him. And he knew that it had to be Ethan shootin’ at them from above. He was also in prime position to target Jason and Floyd.
But so was Milly who was just waitin’ for an opportunity to come out of her hidin’ spot. She slowly and quietly stood up and made her way to the back door of the hideout. She carefully checked the house to see if she could see any movement. But then she heard all the commotion comin’ from the front of the house.
Milly opened the back door and moved through the house lookin’ for Floyd Jackson. She was just as happy to have Jason too, either was fine just as long as she was the one killin’ em. Milly pulled out her other revolver and made her way to the front of the house. She looked out the window and could see men runnin’ everywhere. She couldn’t yet see Eli, but she could see her targets dodging and runnin’ as fast as they could to get clear of the posse.
She also saw the Sheriff takin’ off somewhere–she figured he was runnin’. Not that this surprised Milly. Most men would be afraid of the Jackson’s and with good reason. But Milly wasn’t. She knew the Jackson’s, and she knew what they were capable of. She also knew what she was capable of: havin’ killed a few men herself. And her thirst for revenge fueled her, feeding her anger until she no longer felt anythin’ else.
She opened the front door carefully and pointed her revolvers right at the Jackson brothers. She had to keep up with them, but this was her chance. Milly left the hideout and followed the brothers as they tried to escape.
“Floyd JACKSON!” Milly shouted as loudly as she could. She pulled back on the hammer of her pistol and watched as Floyd stopped and turned to face her. Jason turned around as well, and she pointed her other pistol at him.
Floyd was looking in her direction and when he realised who it was, he grabbed onto Jason frantically.
“I’ll SHOOT, I swear!” Milly shouted, ambling towards them.
But Floyd wasn’t gonna stop, and Milly knew that. So she had no choice but to shoot.
The revolver fired… the bullet finding its target swiftly and bringin’ Floyd Jackson to the ground in a thud.
Milly had seen this so many times in her head, in her dreams. Yet watching Floyd Jackson finally fall to the ground didn’t bring her the relief she was expecting. And this made her panic and become less confident than she was just moments before.
She bit on her bottom lip, a wave of anxiety washing over her and makin’ it’s way up towards her chest.
“NOOO!” Jason screamed, lookin’ down at his brother on the ground
He wasn’t moving.
Jason dropped to the ground next to Floyd, forgetting all about Milly.
Milly pulled back on the hammer of her other pistol pointed right at Jason Jackson, but her hand was now shakin’ and no matter how hard she gripped the gun, it weren’t stoppin’.
‘MILLY!” a voice called out to her from the darkness
It was Ethan.
Milly took in a deep breath, frantically lifting her revolver in his general direction. But she couldn’t see him. She was lookin’ around, squinting as hard as she could in the poor light.
But Ethan could see her. He could see her as clear as day, like she was illuminated in front of him.
Ethan ran towards his brothers and threw himself on the ground next to Jason.
Floyd was still alive. Milly could see he was struggling though, so he was probably on his way out.
Hunched over his brother, Ethan was talkin’ to him and touching his face.
Ethan looked up. He turned his head towards Milly and lifted his gun as if to shoot.
“BEHIND YOU!”… Ethan shouted
But Milly was too late to react.
As she turned around to face whoever it was behind her, she felt the bullet hit her in the chest.
She could hear Ethan shoutin’ and she saw him get up and fire his pistol as he ran towards her. But she was falling… falling… falling.
Everything in Milly’s world suddenly went dark
-END OF PART XXXVIII-
You can read Part XXXIX of Ethan’s story right here.