The Parade

The tablets were yellow and chalky, and came packed in a square metal tin. They had been used primarily for depression, and everyone who took it reported a complete turnaround in their symptoms within three days. Everyone. These tablets also lacked the symptoms of nausea, sweating, and addiction that plagued antidepressants of the modern age. The only side effect was that patients reported that sometimes when woke up in the morning, they heard the sounds of the seaside. 

And the parade.

It happened when anyone using the tablets drove past a church with a graveyard. The time of the day and the weather did not matter. There were always six of them, dressed in a grubby scarlet and navy uniform, playing tambourines and flutes without a sound. Behind them marched a dirty pantomime camel, dancing between the gravestones without a note of noise. They weaved their way around the corner of the church, and without fail vanished. Every time.

Some people got out of their cars, tried to chase the parade, demanded to know what they were up to. The parade never responded. You could never catch them. Like the foot of a rainbow, they always stayed out of reach. 

After dozens of reports to police stations, phone calls were made, and the tablets were quietly removed from pharmacies. The scientists tried desperately to replicate their success, but any other similar mixture of chemicals simply did not work, either as a medical remedy, or a way to bring the parade to life. It has been a while now. Remember, there are no photographs, no video, no recordings. The parade has passed into folklore. 

But if you put enough time put in, and spend enough money, you might be able to find some of the tablets. Two or three maybe, some snapped in half, some faded in colour, rattling at the bottom of a rusty tin. You will know if they are genuine if you wake up and hear the sounds of the seaside.

All you need then was a church with a graveyard, and a car. Preferably one of those old, squarer models you don’t get any more.

It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, or what the weather is like. The parade will appear again, still silent, no older, marching to a tune impossible to hear.