Sees angels in the architecture
While her favorite place to get away from the world is the Red Ribbon, Laylah rarely drinks. Those spirits dampen her ability to see her personal spirits, the angels that keep her company. Laylah looks a bit out of place at the Red Ribbon, with her modest clothing and quiet personality. It takes her a long time to trust new people but she has never minded being by herself. Being Alone, however, was another matter.
She can often be found attending protest rallies in support of revitalizing established areas, protecting them from gentrification.
Laylah Camael grew up with just her father, Hektor Camael. Her mother had died in childbirth, naming her Laylah just before she died. .Hektor and Laylah had a quiet life, poor but not destitute. Laylah did well in school, earning praise from her teachers for the beautiful drawings of angels she created, as long as those drawings didn’t take the place of regular schoolwork. Her prattlings about celestial beings were attributed to growing up without a mother. Naturally, a child wanted to think her mother was watching over her from heaven. And naturally, all children had imaginary playmates. It’s just that Laylah’s had names like Ariel, Harahel and Tartys. Tartys was the one who always tucked her in at night, after her father turned out the light.
As she grew older, she read everything she could on angels, taking busses all over the city to visit libraries and churches. She learned that her last name meant “one who sees angels” and that Laylah was the name of an angel who watched over childbirth. From then on, she was convinced that her mother had seen Laylah there in the delivery room. It wasn’t a name for her child she called out, but a plea for help from an angel.
Her father shared her love of architecture and they spent many long walks around the city admiring the old buildings. Gargoyles, she was sure, were simply angels in disguise. It was on one of these walks that Laylah’s life changed forever. Her father was pointing up at carving, telling her about the symbolism, when something or someone grabbed him. Laylah reached out, but strong arms enveloped her, pulling her back from the curb, just as a bus hit Hektor, killing him. If not for those arms, she would have been dragged under the bus as well.
When she would not be dissuaded from her insistence that an angel saved her from a demon, doctors were called in. While at 14, Laylah was young to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, doctors could find no other explanation. Between her agitation, her rage and despondence, she was considered at high risk for self-harm and institutionalized in a state hospital.
It was the sheer torture of the institutional living that roused her from the depths of despair. Determined to set her life back on track, she behaved the way the doctors wanted her to. She participated in group and individual therapy sessions. She ate when they told her to eat, slept — or at least pretended to — when they said to sleep. Gradually, she convinced them to lessen her dosages and spoke nothing of angels or demons or things that went bump in the night.
Currently studying architecture at community college, Laylah lives in the house she grew up in. Her inheritance was claimed when she turned 18, and she discovered Hektor had left her the house as well as money.
In between studying and waiting tables at a local diner, Laylah protests the gentrification of Charleston. Too many of the old, beautiful churches and other buildings are being torn down, their icons destroyed. Even the cemeteries aren’t safe from bulldozers. It was during one such protest that she met Andrew Collier. Some supernatural types had thought the gathering was a picnic laid out just for them. Laylah was pushed into the fray, protecting a fellow protester. Violence ensued. Andrew Collier had smoothed things over with the authorities, blaming the “sightings” on a gas leak nearby.
While figurines and paintings and sculptures of angels fill her house, she has recently removed them from the sun room, so her new friend, Rosario, can enter and be comfortable. Rosario and Xarina met Laylah at the Red Ribbon and it was a relief to find out that she wasn’t actually crazy. Other people saw — or were — things that most humans ignore. There was a supernatural world and Laylah was a part of it.