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One of the ways in which suspense is built is through the fear that the boys might not be able to complete their task of completely destroying Old Misery's house. Note how T. responds to the news that Old Misery has returned early and how this shakes his leadership:
‘Watch the back too.’ T began to plead. ‘Just give me a minute and I’ll fix it. I swear I’ll fix it.’ But his authority had gone with his ambiguity. He was the only one of the gang. ‘Please,’ he said.
It is only the support of Blackie that prevents the boys deserting T. and leaving the job half finished. The way in which the sudden early arrival of Old Misery puts the project in jeopardy however greatly raises the tension in this story as we begin to fear, like T. and the boys do, that they will not be able to complete the total and utter destruction of the house that they had planned.
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