Part 23 Welcome Mr. Cartwright

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"THIS MAKES NO SENSE," Freddy said, eyes squinting into the sun beaming through the windshield. A large set of bullhorns towered above the entrance holding his gaze. "This is invite only? It looks like an old western bar."

"I know it don't look like much," Drake called out from the speaker of Freddy's iPhone. "But just go inside and see the bartender."

"Alright," Freddy said. "Not exactly five star now is it?"

"Oh, bro, didn't your mamma tell you never judge a book by its cover."

Freddy ended the call and put his cell phone down next to him. He slowly pulled his Mercedes up to the front of the dilapidated old building and parked. Nothing about this place screamed 'exclusive' let alone 'invite only,' but curiosity got the better of him. He exited the car and again focused up at the bullhorns above the entrance. "We'll see I guess."

The wooden doors creaked loudly with age as they slammed behind Freddy. His eyes took a few moments to adjust to the dimly lit room.

A voice from the back distracted him from the musty smell of the place.

"May I help you?"

Freddy followed the voice to a chunky man standing behind the bar all the way in the back wearing a Curt Cobain t-shirt.

"Are you open?" Freddy asked, walking in between old poker tables and dusty tablecloths towards the bar.

"We never close. What will it be?"

"Scotch. Neat."

The Bartender grabbed an old-fashioned rocks glass, poured the spirit slowly and slid the glass towards Freddy.

Freddy slammed it back. "Look, I drove all the way out here. Is this really Cavernous?"

"That's what the sign says out front, Mr. Cartwright."

An eerie moment of silence passed between the two.

"How did you know my name?" Freddy asked. "Drake called you didn't he?"

"Drake?" asked the Bartender, pouring another drink for Freddy. "I'm afraid not sir. Here's one for the road. Enjoy yourself." The Bartender pointed to a long dimly lit hallway next to the bar. "There's an elevator in the back. I'll call it up."

Freddy slammed the drink with one swallow and stood. "In the back you say?"

"Follow the hallway until it ends."

Freddy slapped two fifties on the bar. "One day you're going to have to tell me how you knew my name."

The Bartender nodded and scooped up the cash.

Freddy hesitantly proceeded down the hallway and stopped at a set of mine shaft elevator doors. Several moments passed and he decides to give the Bartender a shout, but a rhythmic motor sound from beneath the floor made him think otherwise. A sudden bang and the elevator doors slowly rattled open.

Paranoid, Freddy looked over his shoulder one last time and stepped in.

The steel doors clanged shut and the elevator jerked downward.

Minutes pass...and more minutes pass.

Growing increasingly frustrated, Freddy glanced down at his phone to see it was dead.

The elevator jolted to a stop.

Freddy looked up, anxiously waiting to see where the journey had led him.

The steel doors opened and a burst of cool dry air smacked him in the face unexpectedly taking his breath.

Licking the moisture back onto his lips, he took his first step out of the elevator. "Holy shit," he said quietly, looking around at the massive cave and rock formations.

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