The story beings in 1942, with a man named Saul Laski who fears for his life while at the Chełmno extermination camp in Poland. He is determined to resist being taken away in the night but something supernatural compels him to obey the orders of the Schutzstaffel. It continues in 1980 with a meeting of Melanie, Nina, and Willi in Charleston, South Carolina. They discuss a game that involves using an innate power they have, which they call an Ability, to take remote control of people simply through thought and cause them to do anything. When these people are controlled to murder, it imparts those with the Ability to look and feel younger and more alive. As each member of the group presents their recent exploits, such as the murder of John Lennon, a tension and unease between them is revealed as a kind of truce. When Willi's plane explodes the next day, Melanie suspects Nina and then a fight ensues, with both characters using innocent bystanders as soldiers and victims in a bizarre series of brutal murders involving children, old men, and security guards until Nina is shot in the head and dies.