He had crossed much of the city, and the smell of fish was non-existent here. Instead there were sheep smells, lanolin, and music. The sound drew him in the same way his victim's voice had repelled. Without thinking, he walked into a house of God and listened to their choir through matins. There were no lay people in the church that he could see, and Nicholas hid away in the confessional. He was surprised to find a priest praying in the next cell. The father crossed himself and addressed Nicholas. “You have come before God, my child.”
“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been sixteen days since my last confession.”
“It is early for confession, my son. You have a full day ahead?”
A day hiding in the rectory if he could manage it. “Yes, Father.”
“Go on, then.”
“I have killed a woman.”
That gave him a safe confessional to stay in for an hour. He spent another twenty minutes doing penance. He'd tried one of the Protestant churches once, but fled when he didn't find a confessional. Since then, he'd stuck to Catholics. They were also more likely to have alms that he could access. The fisherman's clothes were durable, but not well suited to a city. Before leaving the church, he replaced his clothes with some equally rough, but less salt-crusted.
How long since he'd been in a city? The smells were much worse, but it might be easier to find prey. He could stay, if he didn't mind giving into the demon. Of course, more people meant he was more likely to be caught and burned.
He circled around the city as the sun set, its dying rays burning him a little less. He followed a group of gentleman, dressed more finely than himself, but in similar style. Their stockings silk and coats embroidered, complicated lace at their collars. His collar was plain linen and his stockings woollen, but he wasn't turned away when he followed them into a large parlor. While he idled with the men, young ladies came and claimed them, leading them into the house. No one approached Nicholas at first.
All through the city, the smells had been overwhelming, and the same was true here, but the smell wasn't bad, it was intoxicating. This was a house for sex. He didn't stay, knowing he couldn't pay a whore. He was eager for company, though, the smell arousing his sexual hunger, which hadn't been sated at all by the prostitute the night before.
Another man exited and approached Nicholas. “Come,” he said, crooking a finger and walking past. “I don't want a woman tonight.” Nicholas grinned and followed. He had no preference between men and women, a lover was a lover. It was something he had in common with this man.
“I am Luke,” he said as he slowed, Nick falling in step beside him.
“A pleasure, Please don't mind the wife. She should be in bed, but one never knows.” He held the door open and Nicholas slipped inside. Would he be able to stay the day tomorrow? He needed to find some way to care for himself.