CHAPTER ONE: PILOT
Arya circled the shed, ensuring every entrance and window was boarded up and secure. There could be no crack, no Achilles heel in their safe haven. The only method of escape was through a small trap door that was heavily secured by chains and was sealed with a lock; the only key remained inside the shed. The objective was simple- you can go out, but nothing comes in.
Arya ran her cracked and calloused fingertips over the large wooden board securing the front door. She carefully inspected the board for any cracks or other forms of weakness it could possibly possess. She already knew the shed was secure; she had checked each of the entrances a minimum of six times this very day, but Arya was looking for a distraction.
Night time had fallen and this was generally the time when the Walkers were prominent. They came out in the daylight as well, but the night was their paradise; it was the time of day when most of them would roam the empty streets of the city: searching for food. Searching for them.
Bran and Rickon had both fallen asleep nearly three hours ago. After finally deciding the shed was secure, Arya plopped down onto the cold ground and lay down on her right side. She tucked her hands under her ears, in an attempt for comfort. She tried to suppress the shivers that ran through her body in its attempt to compensate from the cold. The boys shared the one blanket they managed to procure, and despite their pleas, Arya would not share it with them. The blanket was small enough as it was and there was no way it would be able to shelter all three of them.
Arya repositioned herself so she was now lying on her back. Again, her hands were tucked under her head. Her current position was more comfortable than laying on her side but Arya still did not bother closing her eyes. She knew there was no point in trying; sleep would not come.
How do you sleep? You've seen things. Horrible things. How do you sleep when you have those things in your head? Her thoughts drifted back to the time when the pandemonium had just begun. The Walkers were soulless creatures that fed on human flesh. They used to be human, every single one of them.
She recalled the news story of the onset of the disease. A man by the name of Rhaegar Targaryen – a brilliant scientist – was working on developing a treatment for cancer. He initially experimented on rats, rabbits and a variety of other lab animals before initiating any testing on humans. The results appeared to be successful on the lab animals but once his treatment entered the human genome, something went horribly wrong. Instead of curing the fatal disease, it created something far worse- it created the Walkers.
The human subjects managed to escape the laboratory and they transmitted the disease to other individuals. And that is how it all began, the epidemic, the bloodshed, the onset of these vile creatures. Blood to blood contact was the only way to transmit the disease: a bite, a scratch, spilling of foreign contents into an open wound- any of these methods will make you turn. At first, exhaustion takes over, followed by disorientation and a high fever. The final symptom is pain; not mild pain, but judging by the screams Arya had bore witness too, a high excruciating pain that she could not begin to fathom.
She had the displeasure of witnessing a transition before. Her mother was bitten early on in the epidemic. Everyone knew what would happen; they knew that she would turn, that she would become one of them. But they were all stupid back then. Every last one of them harboured the false hope that she would not turn against them, that a cure could be found. Her entire family lied to one another so they would not have to say goodbye to their beloved mother.
Her father was a Christian and her mother a Jew. Arya had always taken to the Christian religion before; she would go to Church with her dad every Sunday and her Bible would rest on the top of her dresser, but that night she did not only pull out her Bible to pray. She did not just pray to her father's God or her mother's; she prayed to every God that would listen. She went to every religious building within an hour's driving distance, she took every religious book she could find and she prayed. She prayed to God to allow her mother to return back to her, she prayed for this vile epidemic to be nothing but a bad dream, she prayed for a cure, she prayed for safety, she prayed till her eyelids were heavy and exhaustion finally took over, but none of it had worked. Their mother turned into one of them- she was no longer the loving Catelyn Tully she once knew; she was a monster.
Ever since that day, Arya Stark stopped believing in God. She took her Bible and chucked it in the trash. She did not care if it was blasphemy and if one day she would be severely punished in the depths of hell because, as far as she was concerned, she was living in it.
She should have let it go. They should have all let it go. The real Catelyn Tully was dead but her father never accepted it and neither did her siblings. Her father went on a rampage, desperately seeking a cure, a way to reverse the transition. But there was no cure; there would never be any cure. There were only two types of people left in this world; the White Walkers and the humans. Humans could easily turn into the Walkers, but after that, there was no going back. Once you turned into a Walker, you were a Walker for life. There was no way to reverse the transition no more than there was a way to reverse death.
For a long time, they were doing well. The family had stuck together: her father, Robb, Jon, Sansa, Bran, Rickon and herself made a strong group. The elder children would go off with their father to hunt for supplies, food and shelter, while the others would secure their current residency. For the longest time, it was typically Robb, Jon and occasionally Sansa whom would accompany their father. Arya had always been left behind with her brothers Bran and Rickon. They had a good system, a solid system, until one day, everything went so utterly wrong. They were heavily ambushed by a large group of Walkers. One or two were not a problem. The Walkers were slow and stupid- they could easily handle five Walkers to one man but, that day there were hundreds of them. Her father died that day and she never found out what happened to Robb, Jon and Sansa. Arya was forcefully separated from her family. There were too many of them- she had no choice but to run. Eventually, she had found her two younger brothers, but the rest of her family was nowhere to be found. She was the eldest now; she had to take care of her little brothers. She was a mere child of thirteen that day, but she had to let go of her childhood- she had to be strong to protect her family.
Arya sighed, and with a shake of her head, she attempted to dispel the unpleasant thoughts from her mind. There was no sense dwelling on the past, not when she had to concentrate on more pressing problems of the present and future. A problem like food. Their supply was growing low. The usual grocery store she would hit up was now empty. Their current supply of food would only last them two weeks, maybe three, if they rationed it well enough. She would have to attempt to find another grocery store. There was a Freshco not far from the shelter, and a Walmart and a No Frills only a couple of miles further. If she was lucky, she would be able to find a bounty of food to last her brothers and herself for a long time to come. If not... they would probably need to find another safe haven.
Arya liked the shed. Out of all the shelters they had before, the shed was the most secure, with only one exit that was heavily secured from the inside. Arya, Bran and Rickon had all developed a secret knock for when Arya ventured outside of the shed, so the boys would know it was her outside and not one of the Walkers.
Arya took a deep breath to prepare herself for the day to come. The smell of dirt, smoke and wood filled her nostrils. When they first arrived at the shed, Arya would crinkle her nose at the foreign smell, but now, she learned to relish it. The smell was far sweeter than another smell she encountered much too frequently for a girl of only sixteen- the smell of death. The vile stench would implode on her the minute she stepped out of the shed. The Walkers were everywhere; it was next to impossible to avoid all of them. The trick was not avoiding the Walkers – she wanted to find them – the trick was not letting the Walkers find you. Once you were outnumbered, everything was over. There was no hope for survival.
There were only two ways she knew of to kill a Walker. One was by fire, although she had rarely succumbed to this method of survival, and the other was by an insult to the head; a bullet wound or a good thwack to the head would do. Arya did not risk shooting the Walkers; the noise would drag too much attention. However, she did still carry a little gun in her pocket at all times. It was a gun that her brother Jon had given her in the beginning of the epidemic. Currently, only three bullets sat in the shell, and they weren't meant for any Walkers. The bullets were for Bran, Rickon and herself. If there was anything worse than death, it was turning into one of them. Arya would rather kill herself than see that happen. She saw what the virus had done to their mother and Arya would be damned if she would allow that to happen to one of her brothers or herself. Death was quicker, death was kinder.
She knew she had to sleep soon. She would have to leave the safety of the shed to search for food. The journey would take her the entire day, perhaps two, and she dared not sleep outside of the shed. Reluctantly, she closed her eyes and allowed more pleasant thoughts to enter her mind. She thought of her husky, Nymeria, whom she had lost at the very beginning of the epidemic. The dogs knew what was happening before they did; all the animals were going positively insane when the first creature must have formed. They were smart, they tried to warn the family, but they were just too stupid enough to listen. She wondered what ever happened to her precious pet; hopefully she was still alive and fighting. Whenever her dreams were not consisted of nightmares, she dreamt of Nymeria. Not of her- she dreamt that she was her. The dreams had been so vivid. Normally, Arya's dreams had always been blurry: she would never be able to see any faces in her dreams and the vision was always cloudy, but her Nymeria dreams were so... realistic. She could clearly see every detail of her environment, she was able to smell the stench of rotting flesh and, worst of all, she could taste the blood in her mouth. In her dreams, Nymeria would hunt the Walkers. She could easily tear through their flesh and feed on their corpses. If Arya had done that, she would have turned into a Walker, but the disease seemed to affect animals differently; if anything, their blood only made them stronger.
Before she knew it, Arya slowly drifted off into a peaceful slumber. There were no nightmares this time, no Nymeria dreams. Arya fell into a peaceful dreamless slumber, something that she had not had the pleasure of having in a very long time.
The smell of pork and beans had awoken her. Her mouth tasted of bile and she was still groggy from her short sleep. Unfortunately for them, they had run out of toothpaste about a month ago. Toothpaste was not a necessity- it was a luxury. Before the epidemic, she never valued simple things like a bed to sleep in, toothpaste, deodorant and a shower. Arya always hated when her water went cold. She would be the first to rise in the morning, so she would be privileged to the hottest shower, but now Arya would kill for a simple shower with even the coldest water imaginable.
She took her soiled toothbrush and scrubbed it vigorously across her gums and teeth. A little toothpaste would have been nice, but a dry toothbrush was better than nothing. She then took a tiny sip of water and swished it around her mouth before spilling the contents into their soil bucket. She would have to empty that today before she left. The soil bucket was their form of an indoor latrine. Typically, when she or one of the boys would need to use the washroom, Arya would accompany them to a nearby tree; however, at night time or a time when Arya was unavailable because she was out on one of her supply runs, the boys would use the soil bucket. The bucket smelled foul, as it had also been used for defecation purposes, but it was one of the many sacrifices they had to make, in order to ensure maximum protection from the Walkers. Ever since the attack on her family, Arya had been over cautious. Bran and Rickon claimed it was paranoia, but either way, her flawless system had kept them alive. For the last three years, they have never once been put in danger. They ran into quite a few Walkers, but it was nothing they could not handle. The moment they deviated from her system would be considered carelessness. With their ill luck, they would be ambushed by Walkers. Arya's 'paranoid' system would keep her family safe. As Murphy's law suggested; anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
After brushing her teeth, Arya plopped herself beside Rickon and ruffled his thick auburn hair. Bran handed Arya her bowl of pork and beans and nudged the box of Premium crackers in her direction. Arya took one of the crackers and nibbled on it. To her disappointment, the cracker was stale, but she still grabbed two more and crushed the contents of crackers in her hand before mixing the crumbs in her breakfast. The three siblings silently ate their breakfast.
After Arya scooped the last portion of her beans into her mouth and licked her bowl clean, she decided to break the silence. "I'm leaving today," She announced. "We're running out of food and supplies. I'll be gone for the entire day, maybe two, if I get held up,"
Arya patiently waited for the protests but this time she got none. Every time she announced she would be leaving for a supply run, Bran tried reasoning with her and he'd attempt to delay the trip while Rickon would cry or throw a temper tantrum. It seemed that the boys finally grasped the necessity of her trips. Without food, they had no hope of survival. Bran had managed to talk her out of leaving for luxuries like toothpaste, deodorant, soap, toilet paper and other items that were once considered essential, but when it came down to their food supply, they really had no other option.
The boys did not say anything but simply acknowledged they heard what she said by a small nod of their heads. Rickon helped Arya gather her things and they stuffed an old backpack with essentials like food, water and weapons. She travelled light; she only took what was absolutely necessary. The extra weight would slow her down, and besides- she wanted to leave Bran and Rickon with all that she could.
Rickon handed her the machete and Arya grasped the weapon firmly with both hands. How they managed to procure such a valuable weapon, Arya would never know. It was just laying there in the open, in the backyard of an old house they had once plundered. Without hesitation, Arya snatched the weapon and began training herself on how to use it. The blade was sharp and she managed to find an old kitchen knife sharpener to ensure the blade remained sharp despite the constant wear and tear it faced every time she used it. A blunt machete was practically useless and she would not risk her family's safety with a dull blade.
After receiving the weapon from Rickon, she bent her knees so she was now at the same level as the boy. She did not have to bend as far down as she used to. Rickon was now seven and his head now reached Arya's shoulder. Granted, Arya was never a tall girl; she was only 5'1", bordering on 5'2". She still had two years left until she stopped growing, but she knew if she managed only a couple of inches, she'd be lucky. Arya opened her arms and Rickon ran into her embrace- he no longer clung to her with the same desperation he used to harbour. Perhaps it was just because he was getting older, perhaps it was because he had faith that she would return or perhaps it was just because he had given up hope. Arya hoped it was not the later.
"I love you," She whispered in his ear.
"I love you, too," Rickon replied before taking a step back.
Arya then bent down to where Bran was sitting. His eyes were masked with grief and desperation but he gave her a curt nod of his head. "Be safe out there,"
He cut her off. "I know. Rickon and I are not allowed to go outside, only open the trapdoor if we hear your knock, check the entrances every day to ensure they are all bordered up. You give me the same speech every time, Arya,"
Arya nodded. "If I don't make it back-"
"You will make it back!" Bran interrupted once more. "You'll come back like you always do,"
"But if I don't-"
"I'll teach Rickon how to defend himself. We won't go out there alone; it will be me and him. If I still had these stupid legs, I could be of some use,"
"Don't say that, Bran," Arya said firmly.
"Why not? It's true. I didn't lose them in the stupid apocalypse. I lost them because I was being stupid. Mother told me not to climb- she said one day I would fall and hurt myself. I was careless that day; I did not take any of my safety gear. I never fell before, never even slipped. I didn't think it was important, I never thought I would need it. But-"
"Shh," Arya interrupted. She took Bran's head and rested it on the crook between her collar bone and her shoulder. She remembered the day when she got the call from her father to rush over to the hospital. Bran had fallen after one of his rock climbing adventures and the doctors ensured her family that he would never walk again. "Accidents happen, that's okay. There's no point dwelling in the past. You're right, I'll be back, and Rickon will never have to go out there and neither will you. Okay? I promise,"
Bran nodded his head. She could feel his body shaking against her own, but he refused to let any tears fall. He was just like her; much too stubborn to show anyone that he had any emotions drawing him down. Arya pressed her lips against his forehead and bent her head so her grey Stark eyes now met his blue Tully ones. "I'll be back soon, alright?"
Bran nodded and then she was off. Rickon unlocked the latch and Arya pushed open the trapdoor so she was now outside the safety of their haven. At first, the sun blinded her. Her senses soon adjusted to the unfamiliar light. Immediately, she felt her pulse quicken and the adrenaline spiked in her bloodstream. She heard the click below her and assumed Rickon had locked the door. She tried opening the trap door with all her might to ensure it was safe. The door did not budge and for that Arya was grateful.
She swung the backpack over her shoulders and grasped the machete tightly, holding it firmly in front of her. She began her journey and headed further away from their safe haven. The stench of rotting flesh filled her nostrils and she knew some of the Walkers were nearby. She decided to hit the Freshco first. It was the closest store to her, besides for the now-empty grocery store whose supplies they had drained.
Arya was walking thirty minutes before she ran into her first Walker. Once the creature acknowledged her existence, it ran towards her. She could feel her pulse race, but she did not hesitate. Arya swung the machete to the Walkers head and the blade penetrated through his skin, right until it hit bone. She heard the loud crack of the impact and felt the vibrations tingle up her arms due to an unpleasant aftershock of the hit. It had been a month since she last killed a Walker, maybe more, and she was not used to the strain she felt in her arms after each hit. At least she was able to kill the Walker with only one hit. The monster died instantly and sunk down to the floor, its body lifeless and unmoving. Arya dug her foot on his body for leverage as she drew the machete out of the zombie's skull and back into her grasp.
She ran into a few more Walkers and each met the same fate. They came one at a time with the exception of a couple which came in pairs. None were a challenge however; all they did was slightly delay her trip to the grocery store.
Her arms were sore but she did not rest. Bran and Rickon were still out there in the shed waiting for her, depending on her. She would rest when she made it back safely to her brothers.
When she finally made it to the Freshco, she noted five Walkers roaming around in the parking lot. She took a moment to observe her enemy. Like all the other Walkers, their skin had been a pale milky white, with the exception of their hands and feet which were the deepest shade of black. Their eyes, however, were the most frightening; a sharp blue colour. There was no pupil to separate itself from the iris, simply a circle of the palest electric blue with a background of milky white. There was no emotion behind their eyes, no form of life. Just an emptiness because they were no longer humans, they were the walking dead.
Once they wandered a reasonable distance from the entrance, Arya bolted for the door. The glass was already shattered, so Arya simply stepped inside through the big gaping hole in the window. At first glance, the store seemed to be empty, but Arya still circled the perimeter in hopes to find even a morsel of food. She searched every inch of the grocery store, even the back where they stored their new arrivals, but the only food Arya found were dairy products and meat that had well passed their expiration date. There was no shred of edible food in the store and even the supplies had run dry. No medicine in the pharmacy, no toilet paper, no nothing.
With a sigh, Arya plopped down on the floor feeling defeated. What if this was it? If the Freshco was empty what chance was there that the Walmart and No Frills wouldn't be either? Their food supply was dwindling to an all time low and pretty soon they would be left with nothing. Without sustenance, their bodies would wither away until there was nothing left but bones.
The moan snapped her out of her thoughts and she saw a Walker coming straight towards her. She quickly rose on her feet and swung the machete at the Walker's head. Her hit had been weak and she had to draw her machete back and swing two more times until the monster lay dead at her feet. Her arms were in agony and she dropped her machete to the floor, so her free hand could rub her left wrist, which was her swinging hand. Just as she was about to turn her back to the Walker, a glimmer of gold caught her eye. She bent down on her knees and examined the Walker's left hand. On it he wore an old Rolex, a very similar one to the watch her father had once owned.
Suddenly she was thirteen again; standing over her father's dying body. She could feel the hot tears streaming down her cheeks as her father rose his hand to brush one of them away with his thumb. His touch, which had once been so soft and gentle, was now rough and his touch bristled her skin as his callused fingertips brushed away the sole tear on her right cheek. Rather than flinching away from it, Arya covered her hand over his wrist so she was able to hold his hand to her face.
"You're strong, aren't you, little one?" Her father had asked her.
Unable to form any words, Arya just nodded, never breaking her gaze from her father's.
"Promise me one thing. Promise me you'll take care of them," He nudged his head to the general direction of where Bran and Rickon had been. Her father had ushered them away; he did not want them to see what he needed her to do. "Take care of them like I never could. Promise me you'll take care of yourself. No matter how tough it gets, never give up hope. Can you promise me that Arya?"
Arya nodded her head once more and let the tears fall down her face. She could take care of them, she knew she could. Arya had always been a fighter and she would fight to the bitter end.
She broke her gaze from her father's eyes to examine his condition. He had a deep bite on his shoulder and a rather large gash on his leg. She did not harbour any false hope this time-she knew what was going to happen, she knew her father would turn. Arya had always been Daddy's little girl and while watching her mother's transition had been scarring on its own accord, she did not think she could handle seeing the same thing happen to her father. As if reading her thoughts, her father rose his free hand and allowed his fingers to brush the small shotgun she had strapped on to her hip.
"Where did you get that?" He asked her curiously.
"Jon gave it to me." Arya replied.
Her father broke his gaze from the gun to look back into her eyes. "Do you know how to use it?"
Arya tried choking back her tears. She knew what he was getting at; she knew exactly what he wanted her to do. Arya nodded her head. "Stick 'em with the pointy end," She recited the same words Jon had told her when he gave her the gun.
Her father laughed. Where once his laugh was booming, it was now weak and hoarse. The sound sent a shiver up her spine but, Arya kept her composure. "Yes, I suppose that's the essence of it," Suddenly, all amusement from her father's face was gone. He looked at her intently with the same Stark grey eyes they shared. She knew what her father was trying to ask of her, she knew what had to be done but, the question was, would she be able to do it?
"Arya," he pleaded. He did not need to ask her the question; he knew that she knew what he was getting at. Arya violently shook her head back and forth. He would not be the first man Arya had ever killed, but this was her father. She could not bring herself to end his life even though she knew the consequences of keeping him alive.
"Remember what happened to your mother. I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want to be responsible for killing one of you kids, or worse, turning one of you kids. Please Arya," He begged.
Hesitantly, she raised Needle and pointed the gun straight at her father's head. Her hand was shaking violently and she grasped her right hand over her left wrist to help hold it in place. The gun still shook from side to side and she looked into her father's eyes once more. He gave her a small nod of approval and she nodded back at him.
"I love you," She whispered.
"I love you too, my sweet child," And with that, Arya pulled the trigger and the bullet penetrated her father's skull, killing him instantly. His hand gently slipped away from her face, as his body went limp under her. His eyes were open but unseeing, so Arya brought up her shaking hand to close her father's eyes, unable to look at the stormy grey for even a second longer.
She did not cry but, rather looked at her father's corpse in front of her. After she managed to remember how to work her legs, she stood up with shaky legs and dug him a grave. She would be damned if any of those fucking Walkers tried to feed on her father's corpse. After burying her father, she made her way back to the boys. Neither Bran nor Rickon questioned what had happened to their father. They heard the gunshot and they were smart enough to put the pieces together.
She looked at the boys; both of their eyes had been red and puffy. They were her responsibility now and she would honour her father's last words and take care of them. She tried to smile at the boys, to let them now that everything was going to be okay but all that came out was a grimace. She would not smile anymore; she could feel the hole inside of her where her heart used to be. There was no joy, fear, sadness nor any other emotion running through her body. Just an emptiness and Arya silently wondered if that void would ever be filled.
Her fingers brushed absentmindedly over the Walker's Rolex. Her father's words rang though her head once more. "Take care of them like I never could. Promise me you'll take care of yourself. No matter how tough it gets, never give up hope. Can you promise me that Arya?" She would not give up hope; she would go to the depths of hell if that's what it took. She would find food. She did not do this for herself, she did this for her brothers who would not be able to survive without her and most importantly she did this for her father. She would honour his last request and she would ensure Bran and Rickon's safety till the moment her heart stopped beating.
She grabbed her machete off the floor and left the empty Freshco. A couple of Walkers attacked her outside the grocery store and she swung the machete at their skulls with all her might. She did not feel the pain in her arms any longer. She was not the same fearful girl she was when she left the safety of her shed; she was now a girl with a purpose.
She decided to go to the Walmart first. It was a bit closer than the No Frills and nearly five times greater in size. She passed many dead bodies on her way to the store. Even though she was accustomed to the smell of death, it still caused the bile to rise in her mouth. She held her breath when passing by a group of several dead bodies and it took all of her willpower not to retch right there. The sun was directly above her which indicated it was afternoon. Her stomach growled in protest- all she had to eat today was that small bowl of pork and beans.
Even though the vile stench of the Walkers ceased her appetite, Arya knew she needed the energy. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a worn down All Bran bar. She ripped open the package with her teeth and noticed most of the contents had been reduced into mere crumbles. Arya had never been a fan of bran; she always had adventurous tastes and was not afraid to experiment. Whenever their family would go to a fast food place, Arya would mix all the fountain drinks into one cup, creating her own special concoction that Robb used to call 'The Arya Cup'. Her sister always used to give her a look of pure disgust and her brothers would courageously take sips of her mixture. No one liked her drink- after every sip her brothers would make a disgusted face or let out a groan. Arya liked the drink. It sort of tasted like bubble gum.
She frowned at her old memories. Never again would they sit together as a family having her brothers tease her while having her mother and Sansa scold her for her 'unlady-like' behaviour. She was never particularly fond of her sister. She and Sansa would fight almost every day. When Arya was born, Sansa was so excited that she would finally have a little sister, but Arya just turned into another one of her brothers. She was never fond of dressing up and preferred sports to dolls. It was silly; Arya actually missed those fights she would have with her sister. Perhaps it wasn't the fights she missed so much as Sansa. They may have fought, but she was still family. She was a part of her pack and Arya loved her big sister no matter how different the two may have been.
She finally found the Walmart and made her way into the store. There was no broken glass but she noticed the automatic doors had been pried slightly open. She squeezed herself between the doors and walked inside.
To her dismay, the Walmart had been empty just like the Freshco. She looked around and noticed a few items had still been in the store, such as video games, DVDs, coffee makers, utensils, nail polish and other luxuries that were now deemed useless. She came across a couple of clothes, shoes and blankets and grabbed Bran, Rickon and her sizes. She looked at her t-shirt which was utterly soiled. She couldn't recall what the original colour of her shirt was but the garment was now a mixture of several colours, with the most prominent being a dull red, dyed from the blood of the Walkers. She quickly removed her shirt and tossed it to the floor. She grabbed another t-shirt that looked her size and donned it on. Arya sighed in relief; it felt so good wearing something so clean despite the fact that her skin was still soaked in grime and soot.
Any knifes or other form of weaponry at the store was gone, along with the food. There was no medicine in the pharmacy, nor any toilet paper, deodorant, soap, shampoo and other basic hygiene products. She made her way to the feminine hygiene aisle and noted a couple of items such as pregnancy tests and condoms but there were no tampons nor pads to be found. Arya sighed; she was not disappointed in the lack of luxuries, they could easily make do without them, but Arya was in desperate need for food.
Unfortunately, there did not seem to be any left in the store. Again, she ran into several spoiled products such as dairy, fruits, vegetables and meat. She opened a pack a fruit salad and took a whiff. She immediately choked on the ghastly smell and tossed the rotten food to the side. There would be no point in attempting to eat that- the food would only serve to make them sick as it must have been filled with toxins.
Arya pushed opened the door to the storage room expecting it to be empty but what she saw made her gasp. Large untouched crates filled the room. They were still in their original packing and Arya guessed the idiots that raided this store had not thought about the storage room. She searched frantically through the crates and managed to procure a large sum of food.
She tossed her machete to the floor and she temporarily disregarded the valuable weapon and began stuffing the food into her bag. While digging through the items, she even managed to find a large sum of soy milk stored in tetra packs. She quickly examined the milk box to check its expiration date and noted the product would be viable for another two years. Enthusiastically, she plunged a straw into the milk box and sucked away greedily at its contents. She had never been particularly fond of soy milk as a child, but she did not have the pleasure to drink anything dairy since the pandemic began. She began stuffing several packets of the milk into her backpack while drinking her second packet, after she drained the first one.
Everything was perfect. Her bag was nearly stuffed and Arya thought it may be wise to steal a shopping cart and fill it with the remaining food. Just as she was about to do that, she felt a pair of strong hands encircle her body. One hand covered her mouth and the other wrapped firmly across her waist. She tried to scream but her voice was muffled by the palm covering her mouth. She struggled but, the intruders hold on her was too firm. She attempted to reach her machete or her shot gun before she realised she left it on the floor about five feet away from her. The allure of food kept her so preoccupied that she did not even hear the footsteps approaching her. How could she be so stupid? How could she be so utterly careless when it was not only her life at stake? Bran and Rickon and had been depending on her but she failed them. Worse than that, she failed to fulfil her father's final wish to protect her two younger brothers.
Eventually, Arya stopped struggling and let her body lay limp. The Walker's hold on her was much too strong and she was unable to break free of his grasp. She reluctantly closed her eyes and slowly waited for death to consume her.