He never spoke of it to anyone, and had only written of it once, in his private notebook that nobody ever read, but he had a talisman. It was always carried with him when he was leaving the house; he’d often also pick it up, holding and playing with it, keeping it close to him, even when in the house. He felt it gave him something. He loathed to describe it as confidence or power, but the talisman’s presence reassured him.
He was particular about keeping it in a safe place, where only he would go. Panic flooded him whenever he couldn’t find it. Searching, he would retrace steps, urging himself, “Think. When did you have it last?” Room from room, he’d prowl. Maybe he’d absently – foolishly – set it down in the bathroom. Or in the kitchen, or the living room, or the bedroom, the garage, the dining room – perhaps he’d dropped it. He had to find it.
When he did find it, he heaved a relieved sigh and held it against his chest, refraining with only a huge application of strength from whispering, “My precious.”