Patrick knew he couldn't hide it forever. His true nature was starting to show.
Last Sunday, at morning service, he'd had to pretend it was face paint. It had caught in the light from the stained window, yellow rays catching him out. He'd claimed he was dressing up for St Patrick's Day, for when he headed home, on annual leave, just trying it out. It was only a little lie.
It was true he was headed home. Home. He longed for those rich verdant forests, where his soul truly lay, not this stuffy stone church and its stuffier churchwardens who wanted everything done the same way his predecessor had, with no room for creativity or growth. He wouldn't miss those arguments.
He longed to shed this skin. Soon. The seven years were almost up. The skin itched, and he tried not to scratch as the choir sang another verse in this sodding psalm, forever chanting about some bollocks or another. He wouldn't miss that either.
His people had true music. Melodies made of harp and string, woodwind and jazz. Whole forests made of song, a door within a door. A thousand realms, to devour, to delight.
He was glad of the long surplice though. It hid his eldritch tail, long and slender, made of fur and vine, and the deep pockets which hid fern fingers. But it couldn't last. It was already spreading. His shoes were too tight. And he was getting hungry.
It would have to be tonight. He could slip out the back way. Take the little door, the path that led through the crypt and boiler, out into the night. There, he could shift in peace, amongst the hawthorn and blackthorn that lined the river.
Perhaps he could leave the tabard with one of the corpses, once he'd had his fill. The church warden was getting plump in his old age. Ripe for the picking. And when they found the body turned to sap, flesh melting, organs blackened, it would be worth it.
Soon, the veil would thin. He would head to the glade, and step through the door, into fields of nightmare and meadows of shadows. And when he returned, well, he would have some fun.