Sanpaku -- Part One

Milo stood at the window of the 13th-floor Chicago tenement, a vague uneasiness rising in his gorge, swelling to dizziness.

Sanpaku. A meaning for the times. An Oriental word for "body out of balance and bound for doom."

Sanpaku. All that he could see were buildings and parking lots and streets of concrete and asphalt and glass and steel -- each of them formed from elemental materials, but refined and twisted by man into unrecognizable right angles. Jarring symmetry.

Sanpaku. The imbalance in his brain was temporary, but the unbalance in his heart and soul was not. The floor moved like the deck of a squall-bound boat with every step.

Sanpaku. Milo reached for the wall with stiffened fingertips, feeling for the steadying contact as would a drunk who might sleep with one foot on the floor, not really less dizzy, but focussing, trying to still the whirling world and hang it on that arbitrary point. Four fingertips, and a thumb on each hand. Two hands. Ten tiny anchors against the neutron wind that howled around his aura and threatened to rip him loose from his place in the cosmos; ten sweating grips to hold him static, smack dab in the middle of entropy.

Sanpaku. Sanpaku. Sanpaku. It wasn't working; he was lost. Sanpaku...