Ani Mells is poor and lives in the river country, she is climbing a dangerous tree that has vines. she gets swooped up with the vines and is now upside down. she has the purple fruit in her hand, she takes a bit and it dribbels down her arm. Ani's friend weevil is trying to get her down. two wardens come over and tell Ani to get down, but she is stuck. so the wardens get her down, they tell Ani and weevil that they need 5 river people to come test for *scourge. the wardens take them. * the scourge is a deadly disese from a while ago that has now come back.
the wardens put them in a jail when they get to the next town. Ani and Weevil try to escape. they go there seprate ways. ani finds a girl calling for help in a boat ani tries to help her but then she calls the wardens and tells them she ran away. the wardens also take the girl known as della . when they get back to the jail they take a scourge test drink to see if they have scourg and the affects will take place soon. an hour later della is having symptoms of scourge. but ani did not, the wardens were suprised. so she took a bigger test, then it showed.
they get taken to the *colony for testing positive for scourge. even though weevil did not test positive, he still came along. they swim to the boat, while they are swiming ani helps a woman who is drowning. her name was Marjorie... after a while ani kept getting in trouble and getting punishments. once she had to stay in a cage hung in a tree! while she was in there she heard a lot of nose over a huge wall, over there was the infirmary. *the colony was a island for people who tested positive for scourge.