Isabelle sat quietly at her dining room table, the egg and lettuce sandwiches she had made herself for lunch were drying out on the plate in front of her. instead of eating them when they were fresh, she managed to totally absorb herself in her latest psycho-thriller fiction in her favourite magazine. Each page engrossed her more than the last, pulling her deeper into a life of murderous insanity and betrayal. Somehow it never seemed to be enough, just as she felt that she was becoming one with the story, it would end, leaving her to re-enter her own, dull, mundane existence. Her life, it seemed, never quite held the same excitement for her, leaving her little else to do than sit and watch or read about everybody else's.
Her husband, bertie, had sadly passed away several years ago, resigning Isabelle to continue her lofe's journey alone. It had been a struggle for her, no children, very few friends and even the church group she attended could only suffer so much of her idle gossip and forced involvement in their affairs. She hadn't meant to display such a desperate, meddlesome image, it just flowed naturally from her, and she simply couldn't help herself. Without Bertie, nothing could fill her grieving heart, as a consoloation, she would inject herself into other people's lives.
"Izaak, don't be run from me. You must take medicine."
Isabelle laid her magazine on the table and turned in the direction of the voice.
"Izaak, you must do what I, Doctor says."
Without a second thought of her dried out sandwiches, Isabelle rose from her chair and started out toward the window in her kitchen. There, in broad daylight, she could see her neighbours running around their backyard like a couple of children playing chasey.
"What on earth....?" she began, still gawking at the antics being displayed before her.
Izaak and Hanna Sobieski had been her neighbours for a little over twenty years now and had never, in that time, put on a performance such as this. For the most part they had been quiet, respectful neighbours. In fact, Isabelle had often thought them to be rather reclusive. They had immigrated from Krosno, Poland, back in the mid forties, not long after Krosno was liberated. They settled in beside her and Bertie and had been living an inconspicuous life ever since. She had never had a great deal to do with them, she often exchanged simpled greetings over their shared fence, but they hadn't associated much beyond that. Bertie often struck up the odd conversation with Izakk, but due to his thick Polish linguistics, was unable to carry it too far.
The language barrier hadn't stopped Izaak from continuing to bend Bertie's ear however, he loved a chat whether or not Bertie understood a word he was saying. He just kept right on babbling. Once he had mentioned something about his father working in a glass factory as a young man, before the onset of the first world war, the same one he went to work at himself in latter years, or at least that's what Bertie thought he was to tell him anyway! Apparently he had met Hanna while she was working in a linen-weaving factory, not long before the second world war erupted.
"You go, get away... I no take you devil potion, you try to kill me!"
Isabelle's mouth fell open, what was wrong with the man? Surely he must be joking, how could he think such a thing? She was now more certain than ever that the pair of them were mad as hatters.
"Izaak, don't be dumb, I try help you. Come take medicine."
He would have none of it, instead he weaved in and out of Hanna's vegie garden and around the dilapidated clothesline to escape her and the dreaded medicine she was trying to administer.
"I no let you kill me woman, you evil."
With that, Izaak managed to slip past Hanna and back into the house. Isabelle watched as Hanna lowered her head in defeat and hobbled in after him, still grasping the bottle of tablets in her gnarly, arthritic hands.
Bertie had told Isabelle once that Izaak had indicated, or so he thought he was trying to indicate, that Hanna was a witch and was trying to kill him.
"She be woman of the Devil, a Witch-Devil!" Izaak had blurted to him one afternoon. "She be kill me soon, you wait to see."
Never one to overreact, Bertie had simply assumed that like most married men, Izaak was complaining about his wife, just as other men complain about theirs. He found the wording a little strong, but he put it down to the language barrier. Perhaps Izaak didn't understand the words he was saying meant something different in Australia to what they may mean in Poland.