Imagine that someone - or something - completely stole one of your days? Just one single day, and you did not know why, or what they had done with your life during that time? Young Philip Galvez and his friend Marcus Holmes discoveredt for themselves when they decided to find out why there was an enormous stuffed moose in a house down the street.
Later, when the Dark Rider was once again known only as Phil, he wouldn't want to talk about what happened that summer. Of course, the Dark Rider was never much of one for talking anyhow. He was more of a traveler. He'd been born and raised right there in Spring Hill Lake, spent all his life so far in a dingy little house by the old wharf with his mom and dad. Well, he shared the same house but hardly saw much of them. Pete and Marina Galvez weren't the traditional family types. They'd achieved a sort of equilibrium by rigorously avoiding each other and their son. Pete put in long, irregular hours in a warehouse near the old abandoned railway station. Marina worked the night shift as a waitress at a restaurant in the fish market. Marina's expected arrival home was always Pete's cue to leave. Pete's return coincided with Marina's exit. In this way they'd managed to remain married for more than twelve years.
For eleven of those years, they'd had a son to work around. Early on they'd tried to get by using neighborhood teenage girls to raise him, but these too often simply left the baby alone, and then demanded more money for the trouble. Then they tried some old women but eventually got tired of the griping. So by the time he was six, Phil was pretty much left to take care of himself, and he did pretty well for a kid.
By then he was already swimming in the river, climbing every tree, scrounging for food in dumpsters, and looting every unguarded building for parts and equipment. He was a taker-aparter. Anything that was made of more than one piece was subjected to his special skills of deconstruction. For a long time he wasn't interested in putting things back together, and his bedroom housed a mountain of assorted bits and pieces. Later on he started assembling them all in new and interesting ways.