Tales of the West Book I Part II: “Ethan” – Part XXXIX

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 saw Milly fall. And he shot at the figure in the dark behind her, instinctively knowin’ it was a fatal shot. But all he could see was Milly, lyin’ on the ground, her hand still holdin’ the pistol she hadn’t fired at Jason.

It split Ethan in two. He felt part of him runnin’ to Milly and doin’ everythin’ he could to make sure she lived. But part of him was there, next to his brother, holdin’ him as he bled out into the mud. His brother Jason was cryin’ and talking to Floyd, who wasn’t listenin’. 

Yet still, his reaction was to help Milly, to shoot her enemy, to save her.

“Floyd?” Ethan said

“He ain’t talkin’ … he’s dyin’ Ethan!! He’s dyin’”

“You need to put pressure here, Jason, on his wound. We have to stop the bleeding’” Ethan said, ripping part of his brother’s shirt into a makeshift bandage.

“JASON… put pressure here!” Ethan said again as loudly as he could

Jason took the bandage and placed it on his brother’s wound as hard as he could without hurting him.

Ethan got to his feet and looked back at Milly.

“I’ll be back,” Ethan said

Ethan ran to Milly’s side and slid down into the mud beside her.

She was lookin’ up at the sky above. Milly couldn’t see anythin, but darkness… maybe she was on her way to hell? She felt like she deserved that after everythin’ she did to Ethan and his brothers. 

“Milly… Milly, can you hear me?”

Milly could hear Ethan’s voice cutting through the burning pain in her chest.

She felt him slowly lifting her head upwards so he could look at her.

“I’m… sor… ry Et … han”… Milly murmured, her voice breaking up in between shallow breaths

“It don’t matter none Milly” Ethan said, tears forming in his eyes

He took off his hat and propped his jacket up under Milly’s head.

He reached into his jacket pocket and found Milly’s bandanna, which he then pushed against Milly’s wound.

Milly was in so much pain, she felt drained and drowsy, like she hadn’t slept for days on end. Her eyelids became heavier.

But Ethan was still there, talkin’ to her.

Even after all that she did – probably killin’ Floyd, killin’ Holden”…

“Ethan”… Milly murmured

Ethan leaned in so he could hear what she was sayin’.

“Sssh… don’t speak now Milly, just rest, we gotta get ya to a doctor,” Ethan said

“ I ain’t goin’ to… n… no… doc…tor Ethan”

“Yes you are, you’re gonna be alright” Ethan replied, wiping the tears away from his eyes

“Ethan… it’s’ my ti… me… and … ya know it”

Ethan shook his head in disagreement with her

He was just denying the inevitable.

“Ethan… this is what I deserve… for what I did,”

Ethan took Milly’s hand into his and stared into her eyes.

“It’s as much my fault Milly… I put the gun in yer hand, I were the one who taught ya how to use it. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me,”

Milly shook her head and swallowed

“No, Ethan… that ain’t it. You were like … an angel… you saved me. I was walkin’ this path on my own”

Ethan shook his head and leaned down and kissed Milly. It wasn’t somethin’ he had even thought about. He just did it and to his surprise, Milly kissed him back.

Ethan opened his eyes again and Milly’s were slowly closing

“I love you”… she heard Ethan say

Milly closed her eyes and faded into the darkness that was waiting to take her. 

Ethan shook Milly a few times and called out her name, but he knew she was gone.

Ethan sat there, with his hand in hers, tears rolling down his cheeks, mixing in with the drops of rain falling

He wiped the tears from his nose and mouth and as he tried to lift Milly; he saw something fall out of her pocket. It looked like a piece of paper wrapped up tightly. 

Ethan took the piece of paper out of Milly’s pocket and opened it. When he saw his name on the top of the letter, he folded it back up and pushed it into the bottom of his jacket pocket.

Ethan lifted Milly up into his arms and hugged her for what seemed like hours before he finally let her go.

Jason did the same with Floyd. 

It seemed like there were more tears that day than rain falling.


You can read Part XL of Ethan’s story which is the final part of this book right here.

Categories: Short Stories, Tales of the West Series - Book I Part II Ethan

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1 reply


  1. Tales of the West Book I Part II: “Ethan” – Part XXXVIII – The Broken Quill

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