A/N: Found this in one of my notebooks recently . . . I wrote it back in July, and had completely forgotten about it until now.

--

Inspiration.

She rolls out the dough, flattens it on the table.

I need inspiration.

The dough is shaped, filled to burst with meat, and then thrown unceremoniously into the oven with the rest.

Inspire me.

She tramps up the stairs from the bake house back to her shop.

Where has it gone?

From above, she hears his relentless steps, pushing on floorboards as he paces, creaking wearily with the movements.

It used to be here.

Thump, creak, thump, creak, thump.

I need to be inspired.

Once she made pies with joy. Now she makes them from mere habit, from mere necessity.

Please, God.

She listen to his pacing all night and day. When he first came home from the prison, she found the groans of the floorboards indicating his presence comforting. Now they have just become a constant, an unending drumbeat that does not annoy, but merely drives out all other feelings.

Send me something. Anything.

It has been a long time since she's prayed for anything. You've got to make your own way in this world without asking for help from the Almighty one, who doesn't listen to petty workers like her anyway, is her usual attitude.

Inspiration.

But she will do all she possibly can think of to drag herself and her barber out of this cold hole of mind-numbing routine.

I need inspiration.

Times may be hard, but she is harder, and she will not succumb to this meaningless life. She will rise above it. And she will help him to rise above it as well.

Inspire me.