Isobel Jacobs, 22, travels to the remote island of Rusinga, Kenya for a month of volunteering at a local orphanage to fulfill her medical school admission requirements. She is joined by her impulsive best friend, Jessica.
The young Canadians are welcomed by the friendly locals but warned not to venture outside at night. After a frightening night of unsettling sounds, the young women’s questions about the cause are initially met with gentle rebuff. But soon a disturbing story emerges. The islanders believe that several villagers transform during the night into witches known locally as Nightrunners. And it is the Nightrunners who make the strange animal sounds and wreak havoc in the night. As the women begin to unravel more of the folklore, they discover that the witches are responsible for much more than simply disrupting the peace. According to the locals, it is the witches who curse you, corrupt you and if you really cross them – kill you.
While Jessica’s romance with the handsome local teacher brings her closer to the community, Isobel grows increasingly fearful as her grip on her tightly controlled world slips under the pressures of living in a land of things beyond her control. Isobel becomes convinced that Jessica, her best friend and sole source of comfort, has been recruited by the Nightrunners. With the last of her stability removed, Isobel falls into mental chaos and tries desperately to flee. After a terrifying pursuit through the wilds of the island, she is captured and knocked out cold.
She wakes to a world she barely recognizes…