Michael Zaarour opened the boot.
Inside lay a girl: small, blonde, Australian. Her hands and feet were bound together with black gaffer tape; her mouth had been gagged with black strips that wound tightly round her skull with her hair. She was dirty and cut and looked up at him with her frightened blue eyes. Rain dropped heavily onto the roof of the Mazda and splashed into the boot.
Wiping the moisture from his face, Michael whispered, “I’m sorry.”
He jammed the crook-lock down. She thrashed, tried to scream, but Michael didn’t stop. The blunt, round end hit her a second time, thrust forward with both hands, then returned to be stamped into her face for a third, and then fourth. Blood splashed, bones cracked. The crook-lock was thrust down harshly for a fifth time and the girl’s body went limp. Tightening his grip, Michael placed the end of the crook-lock on her neck, the blood matted blonde hair tangling with it. Ignoring that, he applied as much pressure as he could, but it slipped, ending with a loud thunk into the car’s frame. Silently, he climbed onto the edge of the boot for more leverage, jammed the crook-lock in place, and began twisting, grinding, forcing it into her neck with all his strength and weight until he heard a thin splintering that was followed by a much louder and final crack that left her neck bent at an awful angle.
She couldn’t have been any older than fourteen.*
it's more than a paragraph, but it's a meme, so fuck the rules. this is from my novel a walking tour of the dreaming city, and the large crime narrative within it. it is also the opening for the excerpt that i read at various conferences a few months earlier.