Story begins with Jose, a baker in Maputo, Mozambique, hearing a gunshot and finding the bleeding body of 10-year-old Nelio. Nelio has a story to tell of being taken to a training camp during the early days of the civil war and turning a rifle onto his first shooting instructor. Thinking that he has killed the guy, Nelio runs off, becoming a street kid in Maputo, living hand to mouth. Via a fluke, he soon gets a reputation as a healer who can cure ills and raise the dead. But, as the war draws nearer to town, Nelio's past begins to catch up with him.