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The nightmare that descends upon Jem and Scout--and everyone else in Maycomb--is the trial of Tom Robinson. After spending "a week of peace together" with Dill after he had run away from home, bad things begin to happen on the weekend before the trial is scheduled to begin. Atticus receives word that Tom is about to be moved to the local jail and that there may be trouble from "that Old Sarum bunch." Sure enough, a lynch party appears at the jail just as the three children descend upon it to spy upon Atticus. The children know something is not right, but they don't realize that lives are in danger until the next morning. When the children sneak into the courtroom and observe the very adult facts of the rape trial, they become emotionally involved. Dill is brought to tears by Tom's treatment at the hands of the prosecutor, and Jem cries following the unjust guilty verdict. Bob threatens Atticus afterward, and even Tom's death does not end the children's nightmare, since Bob Ewell has plans for them on the following Halloween night. For Jem--and Bob--the nightmare ends tragically, though it is Boo Radley who appears as if in a dream to save the kids from Bob's murderous hands.
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