Section II: The Empty Coffin - Chapter 18 • Angel of Strength

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"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."

-Lao Tzu

6:00PM, March 30th, 2013

Hexham, Northumberland, United Kingdom

I stayed up all night, discussing my bother with Seamus. When I returned to my bed, Viona was already asleep, sick of waiting for me I presume, and I laid awake with thoughts of Finch eating away at me. He was a good man, and he did not deserve to die. I should be the one six feet under, because I was the one that hurt people, I was the one that committed crimes, and I was the foolish one. Finch, he was the sweet, caring one. He never used a soul, never stepped on anyone to get anywhere, and he'd always be at a crying angel's side.

Even when he slept with Viona, it was only to comfort her. Knowing her, I'm sure she made the first move and he just... went with it. Thinking so much about him made my biggest regret surface again; I haven't visited his grave in years. When he first passed, I'd go every day and leave a rose. Then, the days got darker. Everything reminded me of him, and I couldn't bring myself to see his name on a gravestone anymore.

That breakdown was only a few months after he died, making it over a hundred years since I've stepped foot in that graveyard. This morning, while I laid sleepless, I made the decision to go there, finally. The sun was hanging on the horizon like a dustless painting, colors melting in the sky. The willow trees swayed, yet were still steadier than my throbbing chest.

God damn it, Colton, you aren't supposed to have a heart. Viona's proved that isn't all too true plenty of times. In her words though, a man's desires aren't always strung to his heart. However, his sorrow is. The leaves skipped across the ground I walked, and after all these years, I still can find the grave marker. It sits under a white cherry blossom tree, one that is always full year round. The fact that the flowers never die goes against all rules of nature. They do fall, but they continue to bloom again, even in the harshest winters.

I found the tree, still in full bloom. Each branch twirled around just right, each flower positioned perfectly and glowing with gold essence. There, Finch's grave laid straight with his name carved into it beautifully.

Finch Griffin White

Angel of Strength

1844-1901

He was only seventeen when he died, even if he lived over sixty years. True, he lived a very long life for the time period, but he didn't deserve to die. He was murdered in cold blood, when it should have been me. All these years, it should have been me. Those men, they wanted me, not Finch. He was caught in the crossfire, and it was all my fucking fault.

I slowly knelt down, tears entering my eyes. It'll never be fair. Finch should be here, with me, not dead. He shouldn't be dead. That's all I can say; he shouldn't be dead. He shouldn't... he just shouldn't.

The sun started to set faster, and the lights lining the coble walkways began to flick on. I felt as if I couldn't move, paralyzed by fear and regret. Suddenly, I sensed that I wasn't alone.

"Crying over spilt milk again, I see." A sharp, yet smooth voice said.

I didn't have to turn around to know who it was; Beau. I haven't seen him since Pikes Peak, and honestly never thought I would again.

"You wouldn't know what it's like." I mumbled, wiping a tear from my cheek. "You've never lost anything. Everything's always been handed to you."

He laughed under his breath. "Even a cunning smile takes work." Beau sighed, dropping his cocky tone to lift a soft one. "I do miss him. Colton, you and Finch were truly like brothers to me. You two were the only ones that made me feel as if I actually had a family."

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