As Anwell is on his deathbed, he begins to reminisce over his life beginning on this scene, where him and Finnigan first became friends.
The two kids, being very young, decided to make a pact. They swore that Anwell would only do good in his life while Finnigan was to do all the bad deeds.
Finnigan began to start fires everywhere and Anwell realizes that Finnigan isn't safe nor trustworthy. He doesn't see Finnigan many times after. Finnigan broke his promise because he was suppose to be there whenever Anwell had something bad that had to be done.
While Anwell is grieving over the fact that he has lost his only friend, Anwell's dog named Surrender kills sheep from a nearby farm and is in return sentenced to death by Anwell's father.
Anwell runs away to the woods with Surrender in an attempt to escape from the dogs consequences. He meets Finnigan in the woods and asks him for help. Finnigan has turned against him and doesn't help. Anwell has no choice but to go back with the dog. He is forced to kill the dog with his own hands, and regrets everything.
By, the end of the book we get to the present where Anwell is currently dying. He finally realizes that Finnigan is extremely dangerous and the only way to get rid of him is if he himself dies. We come to the realization that Anwell wasn't dying from a rare disease or cancer, but from his own doings.