A Step Back
By Fran Dincorn
When Sammy saw the woman on the
highway he geared down the semi and came to a stop just past where she was
standing. She was the most unusual woman he ever saw. She was dressed in furs,
not nice furs but ratty looking bearskin. She had dark brown hair from the
roots for about five inches, the remaining six inches was blond, as if she had
bleached it and then it grow out. She was bare foot and carried a fur bundle
held close in her arms. Sammy told her to get in, and reached over to give her
a hand. "I bet you won first prize" he told her.
"You know, a costume ball?"
"Oh, no, not really," she said looking down at her
"How come you are walking on the highway alone?
Your car break down or something?"
"I'd rather not
explain" she said, "I'm going to have to explain all this in detail
"I understand lady, just tell me where you want
to go and if I can I'll take you there."
Sammy out of the corner of her eye. He was quite a man. Big and muscular. He
had a nice friendly face, dark hair and eyes. Not at all like her husband Hal.
They drove quietly for three hours, only when they reached South Bay did he
speak again. Sammy let her out with just a "so long and good luck", watching
her walk away in the direction of a group of expensive houses. He felt a twinge
of pity for her as he put the truck in gear, not really knowing
When Hal opened the door and saw Sharron standing
there, he didn't know who she was. Then she spoke and immediately he recognized
her. "My God, where have you been", he said.
"It's a long
story." Sharron was crying now. "May I sit down please? It's been a long tiring
Hal opened the door wider, and Sharron walked
into the kitchen, and sat down. She looked around the familiar room and began
to cry again.
"Okay" Hal said, "let's have it. Where have
you been for two and a half years? You start talking and I'll make the
Sharron began her story with the day she
Hal and Sharron were on their first vacation
in three years. Hal was a lawyer, always in the middle of some divorce case.
Sharron was a nurse, and her schedule was hectic.
had reached the part of the highway that was all woods on both sides for miles,
on their way to Cape Tourmentine to catch the ferry to P.E.I.. Sharron had to
make a pit stop and there were no gas stations for miles on end. So Hal pulled
over to the side of the road. Sharron got out and ran up the low embankment to
the woods. She turned and waved at Hal then ducked behind the biggest tree she
could find. Sharron stepped over the huge over-grown root - and landed on her
hands and knees in another world. She found herself balanced precariously on
the side of a long tapering cliff. Her nails were dug into the rock and her
feet hugged the loose, gravelly face. Shocked, she just hung there until she
heard a loud growl. Petrified, she turned her head to the left. A huge, brown
bear was making its way in her direction. She closed her eyes trying not to
Suddenly she heard noises from above her, then she
let out a scream when someone grabbed her, picked her up and flung her over
their shoulder and raced up the hill. While this was going on, she heard others
making strange sounds and they seemed to be attacking the
With her eyes still closed, she was dumped on a
rocky floor on top of a fur skin. The man who dumped her was making strange
noises to someone else, then he left.
Sharron opened her
eyes just wide enough to see that she was in a cave and there were three women
in the cave with her. She thought she was dreaming. They were strange,
prehistoric creatures with fur skins around their hips and long, dirty, unkept
hair. She prayed this was a nightmare. Suddenly she heard noises from outside
the cave. The men were coming back and from the sound of it, they had killed
the bear. The one that carried her up the hill came in and crept toward her.
She closed her eyes again and he was right next to her, sniffing. She slapped
out at him and he jumped back. By then the women were coming closer, while the
other men came in. Sharron was never so frightened in her
For an hour she was probed and prodded, her clothes
were taken. Then the worst happened, her captor rolled her over and mounted her
like a dog. She fainted.
For a week Sharron cowered in
that cave. She was given food and water. They had a fire to keep her warm and
gradually, she started to move about. It was obvious she now belonged to the
man who saved her from the bear. Slowly they communicated with each other but
the worst thing was, whenever the urge came on him, no matter where, or in
front of who, he took her.
When Sharron was allowed to
walk around alone, she tried to find her way back to civilization. Everyday she
searched for the door without finding it. One day she pointed to herself and
said "Sharron'; she repeated this several times until her captor said, "Son"
and pointed at her. Close enough, she thought. He pointed at his chest and
said, "Ug"...so Sharron called him Ugly from then on. He was sort of ugly, with
his flat features and high ridge across his eyebrows. Sharron was glad he
didn't want to kiss her with those big lips.
She had no
sense of time; days grew into weeks and weeks to a year. By now Sharron had her
own fur skin to wear. She was treated like royalty by the men, with hatred by
the women. The women worked hard gathering food and firewood, and putting
together their clothing. They resented Sharron's pampering but when she tried
to help, they chased her away. Then the worse thing of all happened - she found
When Ugly realized this was happening
he became very strange, watching her all the time. She was an oddity to them,
with her blond hair... by now black at the roots, and her speech, which puzzled
them. Gradually though the women started to come around because of Sharron's
growing stomach. One day one of the women took her to a place where there was
soft ground, pointing to a spot that had a rock on it. It looked like a marker;
when Sharron questioned it the woman pointed to Sharron's stomach, then to her
own, then to the ground. Her baby was there. It was then that Sharron dared for
the first time to touch her. She patted the woman's arm in sympathy and she
It was a terrifying nine months. Sharron was
often sick and frightened all the time, worrying about giving birth. Finally
the day came. The women gathered around, waiting with her. She was in labour a
long, long time. When her son was finally born, the women helped to free her of
him and wrapped him in a warm fur skin.
Ugly had an ugly
son that looked just like him. He was very happy, really loving the baby.
During Sharron's recovery, she pined for her home and
family. She became very depressed and stayed that way for a long time. She
nursed the baby, growing to love it. Then one day, today, Sharron was out for a
walk with the baby in her arms - and stepped back into her own world!
Overjoyed and frightened, she thumbed a ride straight
When Sharron had finished her story, Hal looked at
her and said, "That's the biggest crock of bull I every heard. Who is he ...
the guy you were shacked up with?"
Sharron was shocked.
"Hal," she said, "It's all true, I can prove it."
Sharron opened the bundle and showed Hal what she
had been concealing every since she got home. Hal looked at the baby in
amazement, no doubt about it, it didn't look like a normal human being. "You
have to get rid of it" he said, starring at the baby. "It's
Sharron jumped to her feet, "How can you say
that?! It's my son."
"Well, it isn't mine", he snarled
back. "It goes or you go."
Sharron went into the bedroom
and closed the door. She didn't know what to do maybe she could send the baby
back through the door to its father. She had to sleep. Tomorrow she would
The next morning Sharron packed a club bag. She
put soap and combs and toiletries of various kinds in it. If her baby (which
she called 'Little Ug') was going back, he would go back
She looked around her bedroom, and felt the
familiar things. She could never leave them again ... she had to do
Hal was sleeping on the divan in the living room, so
Sharron left a note telling him where she was going, and borrowed his car keys.
She had to do this alone.
Sharron drove the long distance
back to where she had disappeared so long ago. She knew she could find the
place. She looked over at her son every few minutes. What a strange and
wonderful thing happened to her. She grew fond of Ugly and the others. They
would be happy to have the baby back. He was hope for their dying
When she found the right place to stop she sat and
cried, holding her precious bundle. Hal couldn't father children and this was
the only child that she would ever have. Sharron got out of the car, and
climbed the embankment holding her baby close.
reached the tree she nursed her baby there for the last time, then she reached
out with the club bag, and found the door was still
Carefully Sharron wrapped the baby snugly, and
stepped through the hole in time.