Pepper vine, Australian Rainforest

There is a huge tree above you that stretches up into the sky. Wrapped around the tree is a dense, leafy green vine. The leaves are dark glossy green. They look like little green hearts. The plaque reads: Piper hederaceum, Pepper vine.

You hold your phone up to the leaves to scan them but it starts vibrating. It’s not a message but a call from an unknown number.

You answer it and hear someone breathing on the other end of the line.  ‘Hello?’

‘Um-’ It’s Uncle Frederick’s voice. ‘I have some bad news…terrible news actually.’

Anxiety bubbles in your chest. ‘What?’

‘It’s dad, I mean, your grandfather…he’s infected.’

You have a flashback to your grandfather pushing you on the swing, the two of you playing checkers together, him handing you an ice cream cone and patting you on the head.

‘You need to hurry, his symptoms are worsening by the minute.’

You disconnect the call and wipe the tears away from your eyes. You hold your phone over the Pepper Vine, open the aptly named ‘Cure’ app and press the massive red ‘scan’ button that appears in the middle of the screen. When you hear the confirmation bleep, you hurriedly open your list.

Your phone vibrates. New developing symptoms confirmed. Young: sore throat and aching ears. Old: swollen, painful gums, confusion and nonsense-making.

You identify two more plants you could use in the cure on your list. Syzygium luehmannii. Riberry, (a type of Lilly Pilly). Medicinal uses by indigenous peoples included: treatment of flu, colds, diarrhoea, aching ears, stomach pains and sore throats. That seems to match the symptoms of the younger victims. Prunella vulgaris. Self-Heal. Can be used to stop internal bleeding. Could be great for older victims.

Do you:

Riberry Tree: Collect the Riberry leaves? This ingredient will help the younger victims of the disease. You have a good chance of being saved, but you might be condemning your grandfather to death. Continue following the footpath until you reach the Riberry (Lilly Pilly) information sign. Then click this hyperlink.


The Fragrant Plants and Herb Garden: Collect the Self-heal? This will help the older victims of the disease and ensure your grandfather is safe, but there’s a good chance it will be curtains for you if you meet any infected. Turn back the way you came and follow the footpath out of the Australian Rainforest. Cross the road and pass the statue of the man in the hat and follow the brick path up past the information desk. The Fragrant Plants and Herbs will be on your left. Follow the main path through the garden.