Chapter 15 Summary

All day at school, Lucky looks forward to running away. During science, she is delighted to hear a story about Charles Darwin, her favorite scientist, putting an interesting beetle in his mouth to keep it safe when his hands were full. This is the sort of thing Lucky herself would do, except that she always carries specimen boxes with her for that kind of emergency. Then the teacher explains how animals adapt to their environments. Lucky thinks this over and realizes that she is sandy-colored not because she is ugly, but because she is highly adapted to the desert. Her mushroomy brown complexion and hair make her look like the land around her. This idea thrills her, and it is the Second Sign that she is on the right path.

The Third Sign arrives just as Lucky is thinking she cannot wait for the school day to be over. The principal enters Lucky’s classroom and announces that a big dust storm is coming. She says all the kids who live far away have to pack up their things and go to their buses right away in order to get home before the storm hits. Lucky rushes to do as she is told. Normally dust storms scare and annoy her because they are so violent, and because they blow sand into the trailers no matter how tightly the doors and windows are closed. Today, however, she figures the storm just gives her more time to run away before it gets dark.

On the way home, Miles asks Lucky about Chesterfield, the burro from the stories she always tells about Hard Pan in the old days. He asks how Chesterfield and her baby burro will survive the dust storm. Lucky explains that only human beings die if they are caught outside during dust storms. Burros are well-adapted to the desert. They have long eyelashes to keep the sand out of their eyes, and they stick close together in the rough winds.

Miles does not seem very reassured, but he turns to Are You My Mother and begins sounding out the words. Both Lucky and Lincoln are annoyed at having to listen to this story for the millionth time, but there is nothing they can do about it but roll their eyes at each other. Lucky feels very close to Lincoln and considers telling him about her plans to run away, but she decides it is too risky.