The frost never melts at the top of the world, or at the bottom of a heart.
Ryan and Istas have been getting serious, which means it's time for the two of them to go through one of the most important rituals in a tanuki's life: meeting the parents. Sure, that means flying cross-country with an apex predator crammed into an airline seat, and sure, there's a reasonable chance that Istas will eat a flight attendant, but these are the risks you have to take for love.
Sadly, there are always risks no one anticipated. Like reputations, and prejudices, and the fact that everyone's definition of "monster" is different.
You can download "Black as Blood" now from the InCryptid short fiction page. While this story is best read after "Red as Snow," it should stand reasonably well on its own, providing you have any familiarity with the InCryptid setting. (If you don't, there's a lot of short fiction set earlier in the world continuity also posted on that page. Enjoy!)
This also serves as your discussion post.
Happy new year!