THE FENCE, as it was known, was a beautiful engineering feat. At 6,416 kilometers, it was the longest and highest (200 km) concrete structure in the world, blocking all animalian travel, by land, air or sea. The Fence stretched so high into the sky that new wind patterns developed, for without the warm Pacific and Atlantic breeze from the south, the northern lands become shroud in near perpetual winter. The air became clean, crisp, and yes, cold, but easier to breathe once the massive industrialized land known only as the US of A was separated, cut clean away at the 49th parallel. The border, which was created in 1783, and was freely defended for more than two-hundred years before the Fence was erected, its creation spanning some three decades, and unveiled during the Great Peace Summit in the frigid summer of 2037. Its initial eyesore and outcry, soon gave way to the sheer grandeur of the Fence. In fact, the Fence, soon became the envy of the world.

Newlywed couples would come from all over the world to stand by the Fence, touching, even caressing it.

It became a right of passage in many a foreign land to get near the Fence, for the Fence, was not just a barren modernist wonder, it was a symbol of peace and prosperity. Viewing the Fence for any long length of time brought a soothing, contemplative feeling to one, its simple form easing the mind from daily stress for knowing that what was contained behind the Fence, was a barren, chaotic land, full of evil and greed.

The Fence was good.

With the arrival of the Fence, the Canadas became newly prosperous; its culture and economy boomed. No longer did foreign images of sex and violence arrive through the air or carried in buried cable. They were stopped dead at the Fence. In fact, within the fence, the Canadian people had everything they could ever need; they had cheap fuel and energy and plentiful clean water. Education was and health were free. Canadian film, literature, music and theatre flourished. In sports, the Canadian Hockey league expanding to a record twenty-eight teams in 2041. Every year a Canadian team took home the Stanley Cup. In short, life was good within the Fence.

It was unfortunate though that on the other side of the Fence a massive army was assembling with only one thing in mind: the absolute destruction and dismantling of the Fence. For on the other side, it had not been so good. Once the rivers of the North were diverted, famine and drought spread through the western and southern colonies of the US of A. Hurricanes and tornadoes ripped apart the lands, once dissipating, only to now hit the Fence and turn back and grow strong again. Northern migratory birds were never seen again. And there were other factors that did not bode well for the survival of the Fence. Without the rational peaceful northern mind to counter balance the aggressive, imperialistic southern one, the US of A, all but collapsed inward on itself becoming all but a fascist military dictatorship.

Soon its export was only war.

And having had its hand in most of the known world, its last enemy was behind the Fence, viewed only aerially high above in the stratosphere from the spy satellites it flung into orbit almost at a weekly pace. With each new launch a clearer view of the country beyond the Fence was seen. People at work and play could be seen. Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons living harmoniously together. Thousands of analysts stitched together a complete (if maligned) view of the Northern world.

In brightly lit, smoke filled rooms, sat Generals plotting.

They knew how to destroy the Fence, for their engineers were the ones that created it. They knew its strengths and weaknesses, its concave and convex curves.

And when they attacked, they knew no mercy.

They brought down the Fence like the fury that created it. The people of the Canadas were caught completely unaware. Despite numerous years of warnings by philosophers and independent think tanks of the danger beyond the Fence, nothing was ever done to protect it. The opposition cried that a proper defense force should be utilized for such a purpose, but even at the Parliament level, the ears of the Government were deaf. For why should anyone think that the Fence would ever be destroyed? They were separated by the wall and because of that the peace would last forever. Forever ended one day and through the burnt rubble and rebar they arrived in their tanks and trucks and humvees, and they drove along the Northern highways until they surrounded the cities.

Surrender was inevitable without an army.

The people, as unlawful combatants of war were forced to pry apart their beautiful Fence, until each piece was dismantled and ground up to pave over their forests for parking lots. Despite their captivity the Northern Americans as they would now be called, survived, and soon, everything returned to normal. They became accustomed to NBC and ABC and FOX NEWS and PLAYBOY TV. They consumed everything that Americans sold them without complaint. Without a market for their own identity, theirs soon disappeared, like their currency which was soon abolished. With something to compare their own to, the Northern Americans grew bored of their own culture; they stopped listening to their own music, they stopped reading their own books, stopped viewing their own films. The Americans, they soon found, did everything in that regard better.

The Fence though was vast and huge and the invaders had not really destroyed all it, only the convenient and easy parts along the water ways and along direct routes to the cites. Beyond that several thousand kilometers of the wall still stood across the land. And, after a time, word of this was spread about, oh, and very quietly to be assured, for every email and phone call was screened for information on the Fence. The greatest ciphers were employed to deduce any coded message, and the penalties for this were harsh. Amongst the stories of the Fence were those of the men and women who disappeared into the night, taken from their homes and never to be seen again.

Powerful men were afraid of the Fence.

Like all great ideals, the Fence lived on in the hearts and minds of the people who saw it. Concrete artifacts of the Fence were passed on from father to son. From mother to daughter. They were hidden in churches and worshiped in private.

One day a child would ask for a bedtime story and be told about the Fence. In soft loving voice they heard how it was good and just and beautiful, and how one day, if they were lucky, they might be able to see and touch the Fence and maybe, just maybe, they could help rebuild it.