Most people worked to live. Ashlyn failed to fall into that category since graduation. Working as an junior developer for a less than average IT company in viper pit that was Vancouver, she pulled all the late shifts. And the double shifts. And the weekends. The company was diving, she knew that. But another year of experience and the respectable companies might even read her applications.
It didn't help that her less than average appearance failed to make her stand out among all the other young recent tech grads. Standard height, regular black hair, mocha skin. Her eyes were an off grey and sometimes silver in the right light. Then again, most folk rarely even saw the individuals that came to fix their broken tech and software. Ash had little time to care anyway and there certainly was no time for a man her life to care either. Those student loans weren't going to get paid at the bar, that was for sure.
Her boring workaholic life fell to shambles with the rise of the outbreak. Quite literally. He boss, Lucas, had taken ill with a serious case of the flu. He was due in Novigrad, Chernarus for a conference with a prospective merger company. It was a rare chance that a Russian company was actually interested in the latest platform developed by Ashlyn's company. Her company needed this so bad, they had to send someone and couldn't risk rescheduling. Thus Ashlyn found herself on a plane out of the country.
Headphones and dozing, it wasn't until the woman next to her slammed into Ash with enough force to smack her head off the plane bulkhead. With a sudden blinding headache, Ashlyn shoved the women away before grabbing her head. Thinking about it later, that moment is almost laughable. Her headphones still singing away with the latest "Lindsey Stirling" violin dub mix, the chaos of people and luggage around the cabin became a sort of symphony. Until the plane tipped forward.
The plane fell from the sky just off the coast and into the ocean. If that was luck, Ash certainly didn't feel like it was for the next few weeks. She and the other survivors from the plane crash set up in the woods just off the coast. They had injured that couldn't be moved and no medical professional among them beyond a young teen that had taken first aid. The first day, one of the guys followed the railroad that was right along the coast towards hopeful help. He never came back. The survivors talked about the others on the plane that had gone crazy and attacked their fellows. Ash hadn't seen much of it. Though with her phone now at the bottom of the sea and Lindsey Stirling with it, she was seeing it all now.
It was the 4th day when they all woke to bloody curdling screams from one of their makeshift shelters. One of the men was being mauled, yes mauled, by another human being. Ash stood with the rest of them horror struck and backing away until the blood covered fellow stood and turned to all of them. Thankfully, one of the group was thinking and smacked him with a tree branch as he charged. He got right back up and bit the guy. People started screaming and running, some helped some fled. Ash backed towards the depth of the trees. A shot rang out, loud and clear. The ragging man dropped. She turned towards the sound deeper in the words. A man stood near her, too close to be the shooter but still not one of her group. He grinned at her right before wacking her skull with the butt of his rifle.
Ashlyn woke to the sounds of an engine, followed by the throbbing in her head and the jostling of a vehicle. Her hands were bound and her head covered. Slowly, the events of the camp came back to her. She groaned and boot kicked her in the side. She didn't make anymore noise. The vehicle stopped and she was pulled out and tossed onto the ground, her hood removed. She looked around to see the same grinning man. "Hiya. Welcome home."
Ash worked in their slaver's camp. Or rescuers, depends who you asked. She did menial tasks and repairs, cleaning and cooking and the sort. The workers were fed and mostly left alone as long as they did their tasks. Days turned into weeks though, and left Ash wondering about what had happened to the world. She often eyed their radios and wondered if she could use them to find out more.
Nearly a month had passed before anything changed. It was of course gunfire that Ashlyn woke to one night. As a horde of infected swarmed the base, she reacted immediately this time. A far cry from the inability to do anything a month ago, Ash ran. She grabbed whatever supplies she saw on the way but focused on simply getting out. Somehow the chaos favored her and she made it into the woods. She kept running for as long as she could, simply hoping there would be no more monsters in the night.
Alone and lost, she wandered now looking for any means of survival. A stray thought tugged at her mind as she plodded along. She wouldn't have any work to attend to any time time soon again.