Critical Thinking

Hi, grand Brance hotel with his wife Cecilia

Hi, my name is Azalea Witherberry, a teenage detective. Well really I have been doing this for some time now but ya know I still can’t get any gigs. Life has been a struggle these days I live in a one bedroom apartment with my mom in the worst part of town. I’m saving every penny I make from my investigations to get out of here. Don’t get me wrong. I love owning my own business, but I want bigger things. I want to go on adventures. And more than that…. I want answers. My mom was perfectly content with our life. With walking down the street to McDonald’s to work. Living paycheck to paycheck, looking over her shoulder all the time. Always paranoid my dad would find us, but she would never tell me why. I’m not a kid anymore, and I’m taking matters into my own hands I am taking the key I know my mom hides in her wardrobe. Tonight, while my mom thinks I’m at the library, I’ll actually be opening her safety deposit box. Where I know I’ll find my birth certificate, and finally, find out who my dad is. I would use all the money I saved up from my P.I. business to find him. But first, I would have to find out where he is. I opened the deposit box and I saw my birth certificate. As my mother, it had Sheila Witherberry and as my father, it had someone named Christopher Brance. That sounded familiar so I looked it up to find out that he is currently residing in Dublin, Ireland. Living in and running the grand Brance hotel with his wife Cecilia Brance, a wealthy hotel heiress. With a daughter Julia Brance that went missing in 2005. That’s when I realized if this was really my father then that means I have a sister! But that article said she had gone missing 11 years ago. So not only could I meet my dad, but I could also solve the mystery of my long-lost sister! So in my head, I was thinking I have to take this opportunity of a lifetime so I called my best friend Jace Kruno and told him everything that had happened. He agreed to go with me immediately. Shortly after that, I got home. The only problem was whether I should tell my mom that I was leaving. Maybe I would give her one last chance to answer my questions. And she didn’t so I didn’t tell her that I’m finding my father whether she likes it or not. I had just enough for a plane ticket I would wait till my mom’s asleep, then sneak out. I meant Jace at the airport we flew all 7 hours and 15 minutes with no stops. We arrived at 22 Cherry Lane. The place was amazing I talked to the receptionist and I asked to see Christopher Brance, but she said he wasn’t available. I didn’t believe it so Jace and I just walked out. There had to be another way to get to my dad. Then I saw him in his office three stories up so I decided to climb onto a bush. But me being my dumb self I fell right into it. I knew that plan wouldn’t work so I asked Jace to give me a boost. I literally fell right into his office and made a big commotion that made him and his wife shake. There was a lot of ways I could have broken the news to my dad. Like something poetic I could have had said something that we would remember for ages, but all I said was, “Mr. Brance, I’m your daughter.” When I told him that he fainted to the ground, but when he became aware again he said, “This must be a joke right?” I replied like, “No, do you remember a Sheila Witherberry well I’m her daughter and yours too.” Surprisingly he actually took it very well, but he did say he wanted me to take a paternity test just to make sure and I said okay. Christopher and Cecilia even offered for Jace and me to stay in the presidential suite so we did. When the paternity test finally came in it proved I was his daughter which made me so happy. A few days passed and I was wondering what really happened to my half-sister. Mr. Brance said that she went missing 11 years ago and that he searched for years but never found her. I thought maybe if I gave it a try maybe I could find her if it wasn’t too late. Jace and I first went to the lobby. The hotel was like 200 years old so I knew it definitely had secrets. In the lobby, Jace pointed out that the pillars were beautiful, but that was it. Next, we went to the theater and we found a trap door hidden under the carpet, and there was a note taped to it with a riddle. It said chairs, lights, and pillars the hatch also had a code that you have to guess so Jace and I went back to the lobby we counted the chairs, lights, and pillars and got the number four hundred and eighty-five which opened the hatch. Inside there was a note that said, “You have found your first clue your next clue can be found in the vanished and discovered.” We already knew that it meant lost and found. We looked there and found our next clue which basically told us to talk to the staff so we talked to Felicia Ferguson the cook who said the only person who saw Julia that night was Hilda the maid. We ended up going to ask Hilda and she said she saw Julia run into the woods and she had also had seen who was running after her. Hilda said it was Gabe the janitor but we couldn’t talk to him, and then she never told us why. So I talked to Mr. Brance I knew he didn’t want to talk about it, but I needed to know why we couldn’t talk to Gabe. Mr Brance had said he tried everything to find evidence on Gabe that pointed him to Julia’s disappearance. I said, “Did you fire him then?” Mr. Brance replied and said, “I was going to, but he died shortly after of old age.” Now I knew why we couldn’t talk to him. We finally went back to the lost and found and there was a handlebar, a hat, and a pair of pants it was weird, but we took it anyways. We went to the staff room lost and found next, but the locker was locked so we tried to use the handlebar to get it open and it worked. We saw a book of some sort in there. That’s when I realized it was a journal…. Gabe’s Journal it said, “If you found this, you’ve probably have found my other clues as well, you see I was blamed for a crime I did not commit, I could do nothing to clear my name, but you dear reader can help me, I know who really took Miss Brance I can tell by the look on their face the night Julia went missing.” “The person behind this has threatened me and my family so I must keep quiet I can’t tell you who it is as long as I’m in this hotel I am being watched, but I will leave clues behind so that someday someone can discover the truth, your next clue can be found in the spirals of my slumber dwelling.” What does that mean? That is when Jace said, “Slumber means sleep so he must be talking about his bed and spirals must mean the springs.” So we went to his old bedroom and found the note it said there was a hidden tunnel in the library that will lead us to her. We waited till late at night When everyone was sleeping we went into the library and then went to the old bookshelf we tried to see if there was a latch or a book that makes it open. After trial and error we realized that there was special movements In the ground that makes the door open when you get the movements just right. So me and Jace made this dance routine and the door finally pried open. Inside we saw a door, but it was locked so Jace kicked it down and that is when I saw Julia for the very first time. Julia literally burst into tears she explained why she was there she said that Cecilia put her there because ever since Julia was born to Cecilia felt like Christopher loved Julia more than herself. After she settled down a little bit we had to leave her to go get the police. Jace and I left and went right to Mr. Brance’s office after we called the cops we told him it was Cecilia who was behind it the whole time and that Gabe was just trying to protect Julia. The cops ended up arresting Cecilia, and after 11 years Julia finally saw her father again, and I told her I was her sister. It was hard to believe just last two weeks ago I was at home in my dingy apartment dreaming about a bigger life. And now here I was, across the world with a new family, and in an amazing world.

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