All around me, they're all here again. The soldiers, the fighting. No, please I don't want to go back. Not again. Not without James, without my Jamie. I try calling his name but it hurts too much and just comes out as a hoarse cry. I try over and over again. James, James, James! I scream it now. I scream until the name makes its way out. Then I see him. I see it happen all over again. Time seems to slow down. I see the shrapnel heading towards him just a few feet away from me. I scream his name again, sitting up with a start.
Sweat soaked my face; I stared to the wall in front of me - a dull greyish white colour, calming. I slowly began to concentrate on my breathing as it became a slower, more normal pace.
My bed was now drenched in sweat, as was the rest of my body. I swung my legs over to sit on the edge of my bed. My Jamie is still gone, I sighed as I thought to myself.
It had been several years since the end of the great war, since the day he left me and I him. Our love had been shunned. Nobody knew and now nobody ever would.
I looked over at my clock with a sigh, 5am. No point in going back to sleep, I'd have to leave in half an hour, and anyway, I'd only have the nightmare again. I slowly got up and ready for the new start at Ellis Manor.
I knocked on the door at the back entrance of the grand building. The outside was built from stone, which shone a warm yellow colour in the morning sun. I was staring up at the great building as it towered over me, when Mr Everson let me in, the Butler, I had met him during the interviews. He was an aging man, balding and overweight with stern, grey eyes. "Ah, Samuel, you're here. Come on through." He greeted me, leading me through a long, narrow hallway that opened out into the servants hall.
There were about 7 servants in the hall, they all stood up simultaneously as we entered the room and Mr Everson nodded for them to sit down and spoke, "Everybody, this is Samuel he is going to be the new second footman."
My smile faltered slightly, "Second footman? I thought I was being offered first footman?" I asked him quietly so that only he could hear.
"Yes, well I decided to give George the job of first footman since he has been with us for several years and I thought he had earned it. You don't mind, do you?" He announced loudly, completely destroying any point of hushed tones.
I laughed nervously, turning to everyone else in the room, their eyes were all on me. There was one set of eyes in particular, that I assumed belonged to George. They scowled rudely as they glinted emerald green. "No, of course not." I lied quietly, heat rushing to my cheeks.
"Great." He said with a smile, "I don't have time to introduce you to everyone, so you'll all have to do that yourselves." He was addressing everybody now, "And can somebody show Samuel to his new room. The house will awaken and want breakfast soon, so be quick."
They all seemed quite friendly and nice, with the exception of George, but I had no intention of getting along with him. The house maids, Stella and Freya, offered to show me to my room but Mrs Brown, the keeper of the house, hastily reminded them that they weren't allowed in the Men's corridor so Mr Charles, Lord Barrington's Valet, offered to show me instead.
When we got to my room I thanked Mr Charles and let him get on with his other things. I was surprised to have my own bedroom, granted my new room was quite small, but in all my other jobs I'd had to share a room with one of the other servants. There was a small window but I had to stand on top of my bed to look out. I had a chest of drawers at the end of my bed and a wardrobe against the wall opposite, I even had my own table. After looking around, I decided to get dressed, ready for serving Breakfast. Mr Everson had asked me to help, just to introduce myself to the family.
I followed George up the stairs to the Dining Hall. Everything in the room was decorated, from the gloriously patterned ceiling to the pretty glass bowls carefully placed around the room. Lady Rose, Sir Robert and Lord Barrington were all there, of course, but Lady Barrington was having breakfast in the bedroom as a married lady. "So you're the new first footman? Tell me, how are your first impressions...?" Lord Barrington greeted me, searching for a name.
"Samuel, my Lord." I filled in for him, "And, actually, I'm only second footman now." I looked to George where I was met with a wry smile.
"Oh?" he questioned. "I thought that was George's position?"
A small smile appeared on my face but as quickly as it was there, George had managed to wipe it away. "It was, my Lord, but Mr Everson thought I was more deserving of the place since I have been here so long."
"With all due respect, George, I don't think that's quite fair. I mean, Samuel thought he was signing up for first footman, and has probably had more suitable training." Sir Robert joined in. Lord Barrington thought for a moment, then nodded and looked to me for an answer.
"Well I - er -" I looked at George, who now glared at me. "Yes, I have. I was first footman in my last job, my lord." His glare intensified; I smiled smugly.
"Right, well I shall speak to Mr Everson and see if we can sort this out." He said conclusively.
"Yes, my Lord. Thank you Sir." I thanked them before leaving the room.
"Oh, and George, I hope you don't mind." I heard him add, as if George wouldn't care.
"No, not at all." George replied, a fake edge in his emotionless reply.
I hadn't walked far down the Hall before George had managed to corner me. "Listen here! I have been waiting years for this Job and you're not going to take it away from me." His seething face was inches away from mine. Almost growling, he reminded me rather of an angry poodle, with his styled blonde hair.
"We'll see about that." I replied, deadly serious, before smirking and walking away.